A lot of preparation goes into creating an estate plan. One key piece is deciding who will be the executor and fulfill your final wishes.
Before appointing someone to this task, knowing what duties they must fulfill and what characteristics to consider when choosing your executor is essential.
An executor’s duties
The executor has significant responsibility in carrying out their duties, such as:
- File the will in probate court within 30 days of knowing they have been named executor.
- After the will has been submitted, the executor must inventory all of the estate’s assets, including property, bank accounts, investments and personal belongings.
- The executor must also gather any necessary documents and bills.
- After a complete inventory of assets and liabilities, the executor must use the estate’s assets to pay off debts and taxes, such as funeral expenses, medical bills, car loans and credit card debts.
- The executor must also file the deceased’s final tax return and pay any owed taxes.
- The executor is also responsible for locating any heirs named in the will and distributing the remaining assets according to the deceased’s wishes.
Until the final distribution of assets, the executor is responsible for preserving and protecting them, including any real estate. The executor must also file a report with the court showing the probate process, including all claims and disbursements. If it is found that the executor did not properly administer the estate, they could be held liable.
Rather than burdening a family member, some choose a professional to handle the probate process. Someone without family ties is more likely to be impartial and fair. Furthermore, they are familiar with the process, so they have the expertise to get the estate through probate more efficiently, saving both time and expense for the family.