FILING PETITION TO OPEN THE ESTATE AND COLLECTING ASSETS
Legal guidance is highly suggested, as the fiduciary will likely have many questions and concerns and the Court may not be willing to assist.
Having consulted with an attorney, the next step is to file a Petition to Open the Decedent’s Estate with the court. In addition, the Fiduciary must file the Inventory, or list all assets the decedent had at the time of death.
The Fiduciary is responsible to safeguard assets until distribution. The Fiduciary will be locating items and other assets named in the Will and will be responsible to keep track of items for later distribution to the beneficiaries who have been named to receive such assets. To ensure the proper protection of assets, it may be essential for the Estate to invest in an alarm system or even change the locks on the decedent’s home. Not only will an Executor be dealing with tangible assets, but it is important to preserve financial records.
It is important to note that a surviving spouse has rights that take priority over the rights of other family members and non-family members who have been listed in the most recent Will.