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Assessing the role of an executor of a will

Being asked to serve as the executor of someone's will can be stressful. It's an important legal position that you should never take lightly. Why? You will be responsible for answering questions, handling the distribution of assets, the reading of the will and so much more. Let's assess the role of an executor of a will.

One of the first jobs you have as an executor is reading the will to the family and friends of the decedent. You need to first obtain the most recent version of the will from the decedent's family law attorney. You then must send the will to the court for probate.

It's also in your job description to collect all of the decedent's assets, including any items he or she might have kept in safety deposit boxes. You might be required to have items appraised before they can be willed to beneficiaries named in the will.

Taxes are also an important part of being an executor. You will need to file income tax, death tax, estate tax, state tax and federal tax on behalf of the estate and the decedent. This means multiple returns and multiple filings.

The will likely has bequests listed out specifically. You must handle these with the utmost care and discretion, not deviating from any of the instructions listed. If you cannot find a beneficiary, you cannot simply keep the items for yourself.

Serving as someone's executor is important. You don't want to miss one instruction outlined in the legal documents of the decedent or you could find yourself in a legal battle with beneficiaries in Los Gatos, California.

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