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Locating assets as the executor of a will

When a person dies, it is often a close friend or family member who is appointed as the executor in the person's will. One of the main duties of the executor is to locate the decedent's assets, including various bank and retirement accounts. People in Florida who are acting as the executor of a will should keep a few things in mind when they're trying to locate assets.

First, the county assessor can be a good resource for searching for estate assets. The assessor will usually have a website that allows for a search using a name or address. The search engine may provide information about any real property owned by the decedent at the time of his or her death. The Geographical Information System, or GIS, is another good resource when it comes to looking for real property holdings. The interface may not be as easy to use as that of the county assessor, but the GIS also usually has some information.

Once real estate has been located, it's a good idea to review the decedent's tax returns. These should have all information about accounts that issued 1099s to the decedent, which covers accounts that pay interest. Finally, the decedent is likely to have kept records of accounts with his or her other important papers. The executor can look through those records to try to locate any undiscovered assets so that they can be properly distributed among the heirs.

An attorney who has experience practicing estate planning law might be able to help people who have questions about acting as an executor or who want to create a plan to distribute their assets when they die. An attorney might look at the facts of the situation and offer advice regarding the legal ramifications of certain actions or draft and file documents to establish an irrevocable trust, for example, or a power of attorney.

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