The first step is appointing a personal representative or executor to handle the deceased’s affairs. This person is specified in the person’s will or appointed by the court. The executor is usually the deceased’s spouse, child, or another close relative. However, a bank, lawyer, or trust may be selected if none of these people are available. Next, the deceased’s will is handed over to the court. The executor must provide an asset inventory to the court. If assets need to be sold to pay certain expenses, the executor is typically also responsible for this. Creditors are given written and public notice of the death and must bring forth any claims or debts against the estate within three months. Heirs named in the will are also located and notified, as well as people who owed debts to the deceased. Final tax returns are prepared. Finally, the court ensures all debts are settled and decides how the deceased’s assets will be distributed.