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After the passing of a loved one, Tennessee family members have the responsibility of settling his or her estate. This means paying remaining debts, gathering assets and then distributing remaining assets according to the terms of the will. This process can be difficult, and it can take months or years to complete. There is one person appointed to oversee the probate process on behalf of the estate, which is the executor. 

The executor is the personal representative of the decedent’s estate, and his or her role is to oversee every step of the probate process. This is an immense responsibility, and it can be a daunting role for anyone who undertakes it. If you are the executor, you may find it beneficial to learn more about what estate administration will entail and what you can do to avoid potential problems.  

Helpful hints for executors 

If you encounter complications in this process, it will cost you time, additional stress and the potential for more costs. It is prudent to know what you can do to avoid potential issues at each step and streamline the process as much as possible. Some helpful suggestions for you as the executor of the estate include: 

  • Find the will as soon as possible, then file it along with a certificate of death with the court. This initiates the probate process. 
  • Be as organized as you can with estate documents, receipts, lists and more. This will allow you to make quick reference and provide documentation of your actions.  
  • Protect estate property by gathering, locating and securing valuable assets. Lock the house, vehicles and other properties. Keep the estate assets safe until distributed to heirs and beneficiaries. 
  • Expect and prepare for conflict. Settling an estate is an emotional process for loved ones, and it can lead to strife and disagreements. 

It is in your interests to know as much as possible about the expectations for you and your role in this process. You will also find it helpful to gain an understanding of how probate works and what you can do to minimize the chance of complications while administering an estate. By preparing for what is ahead, you may be able to move more quickly through probate, close the estate and ensure that assets and property go where intended as outlined in the decedent’s will.