As an Executor you have been given the very important and sometimes thankless job of being the executor of an estate. It can be very overwhelming and confusing. I remember a quote by Henry Ford: "there are no big problems, there are just lots of little problems"! This is great advice in life but especially when it comes to dealing with an estate.
First of all it is important to know that you are entitled to compensation for your time. Time is money and often being an executor can be very time consuming. Now let's get down to the role, responsibilities and duties of an Executor. First of all you will need to arrange the funeral. After that you will need to need to secure and appraise the assets of the deceased. The assets include real estate, vehicles, furniture, artwork, investments and bank accounts. From there you will need to apply for probate. Next you need to provide accounting to the beneficiaries. Finally you will need to distribute the assets of the estate.
This all sounds simple enough but can be a very thankless drawn out tasking. My advice - hire good professionals to help along with the process. Having a good accountant, lawyer, real estate agent and appraisers will insure that you have preformed your duty to the best of your abilities. There are also professional organizers that can assist you in sorting out and cleaning up the residential home of the deceased. Often the any real estate will have to be sold and needs to be market ready. This is where a professional organizer is worth their weight in gold.
Do you know who else is worth their weight in gold - a professional appraiser! Having a detailed list of all the personal property (artwork, furniture, china, jewelry,etc.) and the fair market value of the personal property will show that the Executor has done their due diligence. The government requires a fair market valuation of all assets including all the furniture, china, artwork. Many lawyers recommend an appraisal report of all the personal property but all lawyers should insist on having this tasking done.
It is important to remember that being the Executor is a big undertaking but this undertaking can be broken down into many smaller tasking. Hiring good professionals will help reduce the time and stress involved and insure that you as the Executor have done your due diligence in regards to your role and responsibilities of the estate.