Once the courts grant the Executor letters testamentary, it is time to marshal the assets and pay the liabilities of the estate. An experienced estate attorney can provide valuable advice and help with this process. Marshalling the assets involve first locating the assets of the decedent. The assets that are to be marshaled are any accounts and property that did not have a beneficiary attached to it. The following are other steps the Executor must account for:
- Get EIN number - This number will be associated with the estate account for tax purposes.
- Set up Estate Account - The Executor will need to create an Estate Account. The account will be titled the Estate of the decedent.
- Transfer Property to Estate Account – Once the estate account is set up, the Executor will transfer any property that was in decedents name alone (no beneficiary designation listed on the account) to the estate account.
- Appraisals of Property – An Executor may need to have appraisals done for businesses, real property, artwork, or anything that may have value.
- Pay liabilities and reimburse parties for expenses expended – The Executor must make sure that claims are legitimate
- Income Tax – Hire an accountant to file an income tax return for any years that have not been paid.
- Estate Tax – Estate Taxes may need to be filed for New York State and Federally. Estate taxes are due 9 months from decedent’s date of death.
- Wait for Creditors – Creditors have 7 months from the issuance of letters testamentary to come forward with any claims they have against the estate.
- Keep a Detailed Accounting - Records of all the assets that have been marshaled and expended on behalf of the estate must be accounted for.
Being an Executor is no easy task. It can be very difficult to find where a decedent had their assets. Also, deciding whether to sell an asset or transfer at value is another difficult decision an Executor may need to make. The most important step of being an Executor is keeping detailed records. Every penny that was brought into the Estate should be accounted for.