The Responsibilities of an Executor

Have you been named the executor in a will or in another situation? If so, you need to know what you are committing to. The law does not require that an executor be a lawyer or have legal and financial expertise. If you have been named executor, you will need to be honest and trustworthy. The executor will be trusted to honor a decedent's last wishes. The executor is given what is called "fiduciary duty."

For one, executors are required to find the deceased person's assets. The executor needs to make sure that the assets are kept safe and that they can be distributed to those named in the will or to creditors that may have a claim on them. This management of assets may even include choosing which assets to sell and which assets should be kept.

Executors are also responsible for finding and contacting the people in the will who are supposed to inherit money and property. This can be difficult, especially if the heir is a distant relative. The executor needs to make sure that the right property goes to the right recipient. Executors must decide if probating the last will and testament is necessary. Probate can approve the validity of a will. The laws of your state will dictate whether or not you need to take the will to probate. Also, the value of the property that will be passed may determine whether or not probate is important.

Executors must make sure that the will is filed in the right probate court. If the executor deems probate is necessary, he or she will oversee the process as the will undergoes this process. Even if the will doesn't need to undergo probate, it may still be necessary for the will to be filed. Executors must also wrap up the deceased's affairs. This can involve cancelling credit cards or subscriptions, and notifying banks and other entities about the individual's death. The executor may also need to call any government agencies that were giving money to the decedent prior to his or her passing.

The executor is also required to pay final income taxes for the decedent, and ensure that the property distribution is done correctly. The executor will oversee paying off debts to all creditors and debtors, and will continue any necessary payments as they are needed. The executor may need to set up a bank account for the estate. This an account that can help to keep the estate's money separate from the executor's own finds. This helps to reduce confusion and the account can be used to pay off debts to creditors.

Oftentimes, it is wise to hire a professional to take on this job. If you have not designated an executor for your own will, you may want to do so soon. Hiring the right attorney to do this for you is wise. If you hire a friend or family member, the legalities may be overwhelming. Your loved one may make serious mistakes. Also, you hire someone that is not trustworthy, your heirs may not get the financial gifts or the property that you promised them.

Use this directory to find estate planning and probate professionals that are professional. You want someone you can rely on to deal with your affairs after your death. Being an executor is a serious job and is not for the simple-minded. Hire someone schooled and trained in estate planning and probate to secure the future of your finances. Use this directory to locate someone today!