10 Responsibilities of an Estate Executor

Not all of us will be named as an executor, but ALL of us will need someone to close out our estate after we're gone. So before you ask someone to fulfill that role for you, be aware of what you're asking them to take on (Caldwell 2015).

It's both an honor and a burden to serve as someone's executor. An executor is entrusted with responsibility for winding up someone's earthly affairs - a big or little task, depending on the situation. Essentially, an executor is charged with protecting a deceased person's property until all debts and taxes have been paid, and seeing that what's left is transferred to the people who are entitled to it (Nolo.com 2015).

The law does not require an executor (also called a personal representative) to be a legal or financial expert, but it does require the highest degree of honesty, impartiality, and diligence. This is called a "fiduciary duty" - the duty to act with scrupulous good faith and honesty on behalf of someone else (Nolo.com 2015).

Executors have a number of duties, depending on the complexity of the deceased person's financial and family circumstances. Typically, an executor must:
  1. Find the deceased person's assets and manage them until they are distributed to inheritors
  2. Decide whether or not probate court proceedings are needed.
  3. Figure out who inherits property.
  4. File the will (if any) in the local probate court.
  5. Handle day-to-day details.
  6. Set up an estate bank account.
  7. Use estate funds to pay continuing expenses.
  8. Pay debts.
  9. Pay taxes.
  10. Supervise the distribution of the deceased person's property.

 To learn about these duties in more detail, and get step-by-step advice on how to wrap up an estate, call 205-789-9894 today.

Birmingham Estate Planning Attorney Richard Burton provides legal services in Estates, Wills & Trusts, Probate Administration, Guardianship and Conservatorship, Asset Protection Planning, Business Succession Planning, Federal & State Tax Planning, Charitable Giving & Private Foundations. Contact Richard at www.attorneyrichardburton.com or call (205) 789-9894..

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