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What is an executor’s role?

| Nov 4, 2019 | Estate Planning |

Before someone passes away, they want to make sure their last wishes are followed through. While they write their will, they will appoint someone they trust to complete those wishes. The responsibilities delegated to an executor is vital after one’s death.

An executor is responsible for many things after their loved one has passed, and it is a very large task. Many times, the executor is a family member or close friend of the deceased. It’s usually someone who knows the deceased very well, as they will have to know the financial situation of the person.

Major responsibilities

  1. Notify banks, credit card companies and government offices of the death

After a person’s passing, the executor must contact the deceased’s banks and credit card companies. Government agencies, like the Social Security Administration, must also be notified so they can stop payments or take necessary action on their end. If an executor does not do this, it could lead to major problems in the long run.

  1. File an inventory of the estate

The executor must collect an inventory of the estate, so the court has a detailed description of the deceased’s property and assets. This responsibility can be very time consuming for the executor, but it ensures that the assets are all accounted for.

  1. Pay any outstanding debts and taxes

The executor must go through the deceased’s files and mail to find out if they have any outstanding debts that are due. They should look for any mortgages, loans or credit card bills. If there are debts that must be paid, the executor must use the estate to pay creditors. They also have to file income tax for the estate, starting from the first of the year until the date of the deceased’s death. Depending on the size of the estate, there may be additional taxes to pay.

  1. Distribute assets

Assets will be divided according to the will. The executor is to distribute all assets included in the will to those named. If there is no will, the state will receive the estate after all debts are paid.

  1. Dispose of the remaining property

The executor must find the best way to dispose of the rest of the estate. This is only done after all debts have been paid, and the executor has completed the distribution. Any part of the estate that has not been dispersed; the executor handles. The only exception to this is if the state is entitled to the estate.

Although this is a time-consuming role, an executor has an important duty to complete the final wishes of the deceased. It’s an honorable and difficult part that one must play to fulfill the wishes of their loved one. If a loved one asked you to be an executor, it’s important to think through what that entails and how much you can realistically handle.