An executor of will is legally bound to straighten out the assets of the person who passed. This usually means ensuring all debts and taxes get taken care of. Also, remaining assets should get distributed to who you want them to end up. Assigned executors may vary. However, most of the time, close family members of the deceased gets chosen. For example, a spouse, a descendant, a parent, or a sibling.
Usually state laws consists of compensation laws in place for executors of will. However, oftentimes executors close family members deny payment. Along with straightening out debts and distributing assets, executors often perform the following duties:
1 - File a copy of the deceased’s will with the local probate court
You do not need a probate but a filed will with the local probate court. The executor needs to take care of this duty to determine who will receive which assets.
2 - Apprise financial institutions and government agencies of the deceased’s passing
You should inform a few of institutions about the deceased’s passing. This includes any banks, credit card companies, and the Social Security Administration.
3 - Open a bank account for any lingering transactions
There may exist some payments that the deceased still needs to receive, or bills that still need to get paid. A couple examples of this includes remaining revenue, mortgages, utilities, and other things.
4 - List down the remaining assets
Oftentimes, state laws obligate the executor of will to do a detailed inventory of all the deceased’s remaining assets. After that, file it with the probate court.
5 - Figure out the type of probate needed
Probate isn’t always necessary, especially in the circumstance of joint-owned property. There may even exist an expedited process eligible for the estate to go through. However, the executor will determine the kind of probate needed.
6 - Care for the estate until ready for distribution
Prior to assets being distributed, the executor must take care of the estate. This may also involve the decision to sell and the process of doing so. Additionally, the executor should locate each article of personal property. Also, he or she needs to keep it safe until distribution.
7 - Take care of any remaining liabilities
As already mentioned, the executor should inform all financial institutions. This includes creditors, of the deceased’s passing. If any outstanding debts and taxes exists, the executor should use the deceased’s assets to pay off the remaining liabilities.
8 - Distribute remaining assets
The deceased usually outlines their wishes pertaining to the distribution of assets in the will. In this case, the executor should ensure that the assets get distributed accordingly. If not, state intestacy laws apply.
9 - Dispose of remaining property
Disposal of any remaining property after liabilities get paid and assets get distributed.
10 - Represent the estate
The executor of will gets the responsibility if a representative gets called to stand for the estate in court.
Properties vary from extremely large, very small, or especially complex. An executor’s duties can be equally as diverse according to that. At times, an executor needs to perform duties that go beyond the ones mentioned in this article. Though someone can decline the responsibility of executor, often proper legal advice makes a big difference. Consult an attorney if you feel you need some extra guidance.