All of these questions (and many you've failed to ask) are precisely why any Executor is well advised to retain counsel to help guide them through an estate administration. The fees you incur are estate expenses and come out of the estate but if you mess something up as Executor the liability can run to you personally. I'll never understand why any Executor (other than an Executor who is the sole beneficiary) would even consider trying to handle an administration without competent legal counsel.
Normally I would not submit a non-answer like this but your questions are so numerous and so far reaching that the answers are best covered by books not 4000 character internet posts.
Do yourself a favor and at least have an initial consult with a knowledgeable probate attorney to get some idea as to the breadth of your responsibilities and the proper way they can be discharged.
Very truly yours,
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I would have given a very similar answer to my colleague above. Since his is an NJ attorney and I am not, I will not add to his comments as I agree with them.
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