Being named the executor of an estate is a big responsibility. First and foremost, it shows the trust that the a person had in you -- trust that you would be the right person to address the many different issues that can pop up in the process of estate administration. But, for many people, being the executor of an estate is a new experience. As a recent article pointed out, there are some big parts of estate administration that need to be addressed as soon as possible.
The first part is to be recognized as the executor by the probate court. This will give you the legal authority to act on behalf of the estate. In doing so, it is important to get several copies of the death certificate as soon as possible, as copies of this document will need to be provided to many different entities in order to carry out the administration of the estate.
Next, the executor is tasked with making an inventory of the assets to be included in the estate. Those assets will need to be valued as well. Expenses in administrating the estate must be tracked. The better the job an executor does in the estate's accounting, the easier it will be to close out the estate administration process.
Lastly, one of the biggest parts of estate administration is the distribution of assets. When these assets are distributed, it is important to make a record of the transaction, such as a receipt. For most people this won't be a problem, because it is important to make sure that the person who received the assets can't come back later and claim to have never received anything at all.
Source: postcrescent.com, "Administering an estate takes careful planning," Carissa Giebel, Feb. 5, 2017