Being an Executor can feel like being a detective. The job of identifying the assets and all of the debt owed by the deceased loved one can be a part-time job. Best advice I ever heard was don’t throw any paper out. What you think may be a stack of junk mail could actually be a stack of junk mail with dividend checks mixed in. Stacks of papers in the corner of a room may look like a messy pile collecting dust, but it may also contain stock certificates and bonds.
Look through every piece of mail to help identify debts and where accounts may be held. After the court awards the Executor authority over the estate they should transfer the deceased’s mail to be sent to themselves. It can take months to paint a full picture of what the deceased owns and owes. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been found by simply waiting for the mail to continue to arrive or by taking the time to view every piece of paper. There is no universal search to find out where a loved one invested or saved money. It takes sleuthing and time.