1. Understand the Executor’s Role and Responsibilities:
In Pennsylvania, an executor is responsible for collecting and gathering the decedent's assets, paying debts, filing taxes, distributing assets to beneficiaries, and closing the estate.
2. Identify Property Titled in Decedent's Name:
This includes all real estate, cars, stocks, bonds, and other personal property.
3. Contact Financial Institutions:
Gather information regarding any accounts owned by the decedent and obtain account statements or balances.
4. Obtain Death Certificates:
Copies of the death certificate may be needed for bank accounts and insurance policies, as well as to transfer assets.
5. Notify Creditors:
As executor, you must provide written notice to any creditors of the decedent's death.
6. File the Decedent's Final Tax Return:
This is due on April 15th of the year following their death, or nine months after their date of death, whichever comes later.
7. Open Estate Bank Account:
Any money collected on behalf of the estate should be deposited into an estate bank account to keep personal and estate finances separate.
8. Collect Assets and Transfer Property:
All assets must be collected and transferred to the appropriate beneficiaries per the decedent's last will or intestate law.
9. Pay All Debts, Expenses, and Taxes:
All creditors must be paid in a timely fashion or the executor may be held personally liable.
10. Finalize Estate Administration:
File the appropriate documents with the court to close out the estate, including an Accounting and a Final Decree.