How can you locate and manage assets as an executor?

On Behalf of | Nov 21, 2023 | Probate And Estate Administration |

Executors of estates assume an important role in ensuring the orderly distribution of assets. Their responsibilities include initiating probate proceedings, settling debts and liabilities and creating a comprehensive inventory of the deceased’s assets.

Navigating the process of asset valuation requires a systematic approach to ensure effective administration.

1. Initiate a thorough inventory

Begin by creating a detailed inventory of the deceased’s assets. This involves identifying both tangible and intangible possessions. Tangible assets may include real estate, vehicles and personal belongings. For example, the median value of an owner-occupied home in Pennsylvania is $197,300.

Meanwhile, intangible assets encompass bank accounts, investments and intellectual property. This comprehensive list serves as a foundational document for the subsequent stages of asset management.

2. Examine important documents

Delve into the deceased’s paperwork to uncover documents such as wills, trusts and deeds. These documents are necessary for understanding the legal framework surrounding the distribution of assets. Additionally, look for financial statements, insurance policies and retirement account information.

3. Communicate with financial institutions

Contact the financial institutions where the deceased held accounts. Provide them with the necessary documentation, including a death certificate and letters of testamentary, to gain access to the accounts.

4. Address real estate holdings

For real estate assets, initiate the process of transferring ownership by filing the necessary documents with the appropriate county office. This typically involves filing a deed with the Recorder of Deeds.

5. Explore digital assets

Access online accounts, including email, social media and cloud storage, to safeguard or distribute digital possessions. Adhering to the terms of service of these platforms helps avoid legal complications.

6. Settle debts and taxes

Before distributing assets to beneficiaries, address outstanding debts and taxes. This includes paying off creditors and filing the deceased’s final income tax return. Fulfilling these obligations ensures a transparent and legally compliant distribution process.

This structured approach not only facilitates a seamless administration process but also upholds the integrity of the estate distribution.