How you can be a better executor

If you're made the executor of an estate, you may be concerned about how to move forward. Fortunately, there are some tips for how to be the best executor you can be.

Your job is to handle the estate of someone who has passed away, and this needs to be done with respect and in accordance with the will. If you're working with your attorney to take action, he or she can help you focus on which assets are valuable, which debts you need to pay off and how the assets should be distributed.

As an executor, you must follow what's written in the will. If you want to deviate from what the will says for any reason, you'll need to ask the court for approval. That's where working with an attorney is key, since you, as an executor, are representing the interests of every beneficiary in the will.

You need to secure the estate as soon as possible after you become the executor. That may mean changing locks or finding missing assets. You'll want to inform heirs and creditors as soon as possible as well, so you can begin to dole out the appropriate compensation.

Communication will make you a better executor. The process of splitting an estate, even when a will is in place, can take months. Making sure the beneficiaries know when the process will be complete is key to making sure they stay happy. By staying transparent in your actions, you can make sure you keep control, even if multiple people are trying to influence your decisions.

Source: U.S. News Investing, "4 Tips to Be a Better Executor," Debbie Carlson, June 02, 2016