What Are The Roles & Duties Of A Will Executor?
Who Is an Estate Executor and What Are Their Duties?
An executor is the person is named by a person who creates a will (testator) as the individual responsible for fulfilling the provisions and terms contained in the will. Some of the key duties of an executor include locating important documents pertaining to the estate of a testator as informing entities such as Social Security, annuity providers, and of other parties when the creator of the will dies. The will executor also has other legal responsibilities which include:
- Starting the estate probate process
As an estate executor, it will be your duty to open up the estate and begin the will probate process. If you do not have any legal training, you will need to engage the services of a skilled estate lawyer to handle the probate process. The lawyer that you hire will take up duties such as providing notices to parties that have a stake in the deceased’s estate such as creditors, obtaining important documents required in the probate process such as the Certificate of Death and a copy of the original will, handling any will disputes that may arise, and finally closing the estate. Note that fees you are charged by your attorney and your fees as the estate executor will be deducted from the deceased’s estate.
- Undertaking an inventory of the deceased’s estate
During the execution of a will, all the assets belonging to the deceased must be collected and then inventoried. In some cases, some of the assets belonging to the deceased such as jewelry will also need to be appraised. As an executor, it will be your duty to collect, appraise and inventory all the assets in the deceased’s estate.
- Ensuring that debtors pay up debts owed to the estate of the deceased
As the executor of an estate, it will be your duty to speak to the former employer of the deceased to find out if there were any unpaid benefits or remuneration owed. You will also have the duty of finding out if there are any debtors who owe money to the deceased’s estate. Any expenses that you incur while pursuing debts owed to the deceased will be charged against the deceased.
- Paying debts that the estate of the deceased owes to creditors
Once the probate process is initiated and a court determines that the deceased’s will is valid, as the will executor, you can then move ahead and start paying taxes, debts, and other valid claims against the estate. Though the process of clearing debts and claims against the estate can be handled by an executor who does not have any legal training, paying estate taxes can be complicated and it is best that you engage a probate and estate administration lawyer to handle this process.
- Distributing the assets of the deceased’s estate as per the terms set out in the will and closing the estate
Once an executor has settled all the claims against the deceased’s estate, the next duty that has to be fulfilled is distributing the remaining assets in the estate to the deceased’s beneficiaries as per the terms spelled out in the will. Once the assets have been distributed to beneficiaries, the estate can then be closed and the executor released from carrying out any duties on behalf of the deceased’s estate. Probate usually closes an estate on receiving the following documents:
– Copies of invoices showing payments to creditors who were owed by the deceased’s estate
– Copies of notices to all interested parties showing the intention to close the estate
– Evidence that beneficiaries of the deceased’s estate have received what is due to them
Contact The Law Office of Roger A. Giuliani for Assistance with Estate Administration
Note that any person who has reached 18 years of age can be appointed as an estate executor as long as they do not have a past felony conviction. In many cases, the will executor is usually a close family member or a friend of the deceased.
Carrying out the duties and responsibilities of an executor can be overwhelming and time-consuming even if the deceased’s estate does not have a lot of assets. Have you been named as the executor of a will? If yes, please contact the Law Office of Roger A. Giuliani to speak to an estate administration and probate attorney so that you can better understand your role in the administration of the deceased’s estate.