It’s not uncommon for individuals to choose an adult child to serve as their estate executor. Therefore, you should be prepared to receive a request to manage your mother or father’s Alabama estate after their passing. If you agree to serve in this role, there are a number of tasks that you’ll need to complete soon after your parent dies.
Secure and inventory assets
One of your first duties is to secure and inventory the assets within the estate. You will likely need death certificates to obtain access to bank accounts, real property or other items that your parents owned at the time of their death. A death certificate will also be necessary to open a bank account for the estate as well as to secure any property that was passed to you through a beneficiary designation or similar means.
Pay bills and handle claims
Prior to distributing assets, you’ll be required to evaluate creditor claims and pay any outstanding credit card, tax or other balances owed. You will also be required to represent the estate against any claims made by family members or other interested parties. You will also need to get the probate court’s blessing before you distribute assets to beneficiaries. Distributing assets without authorization may open you to personal liability if you fail to wait before transferring property out of the estate.
As an executor, you are tasked with ensuring that a deceased person’s wishes are carried out as quickly and accurately as possible. However, you can turn to the judge or other resources for help if you are unsure of how to proceed during probate. You also have the right to withdraw as an executor at any time by notifying the court of your intention to do so.