Help! I’m the Executor of a Will and I Don’t Know What to Do

Orange County probate attorney

In a perfect world, the executor of a Last Will and Testament will have all the information and resources they need to administer an estate quickly and efficiently. An Orange County probate attorney can tell you, this is not often the case.

In the real world, many people don’t even know that they’ve been named the executor of an estate until after a person dies and they’ve read the Last Will and Testament.

Being named an executor for someone’s estate is both an honor and a burden, but that burden can be made infinitely harder when the executor doesn’t have the right information or guidance to know how to handle the estate. Here are some quick tips to help you out if you’ve been named the executor of an estate and you don’t know where to begin:

Find an Orange County probate attorney

An experienced Orange County probate attorney is a great resource to help you carry out your duties as the executor of an estate. In many cases you can work with the attorney who originally created the Last Will and Testament, but there will be times when this is not possible, either because the attorney passed away, retired, or you have a conflict of interest. If this is the case, you should find an attorney who has experience dealing with your local probate court and can help you navigate the estate administration process.

Locate the Last Will and Testament

The Last Will and Testament must be filed with the probate court to start the probate proceedings. Many times, the lawyer who originally drafted the document will keep the original copy of the Last Will and Testament. If not, the original may be kept somewhere secure like a home safe or a safety deposit box. In any case, though, an estate administration will stop in its tracks if the Last Will and Testament cannot be located.

Set up an estate bank account

Once the Last Will and Testament has been filed and accepted in the probate court, you will receive legal documents that allow you to access bank accounts and set up a new estate bank account. The best practice is to close all of the other accounts and move them all into the estate account, which gives you one easy place to track the estate’s finances and pay any bills or debts.

These are just some of the steps you’ll need to take as an executor of an estate. If you have any questions about settling an estate as an executor, or if you’d like the assistance of an Orange County probate attorney to take over some of the duties you’ve been tasked with, please contact us at (949) 260-1400 to set up a consultation.

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