Asking someone to be the Executor of your estate is a crucial part of creating a will and the basis for beginning the estate planning process. While the question may seem fairly benign, many don’t realize exactly what is required within an Executor’s duties.
An Executor is named when a will is drafted, their duties begin once the testator, the person who had the will created, dies. Once the estate begins probate, the legal process that settles the estate of a deceased, the Executor duties will include:
- Appearances and filings in Probate Court;
- Notifying beneficiaries and heirs;
- Sending death notices;
- Opening a checking account to pay the estate’s bills;
- Filing a tax return;
- Inventorying assets;
- Identifying and paying debts of the estate; and
- Distributing bequests to beneficiaries.
Obviously, it can be a labor-intensive process for an Executor, and unfortunately it also comes during a time of grief. But the Executor does have options, such as hiring a Probate attorney or accountant to assist with the Executor’s duties. The fees are paid for by the estate.
If you are choosing an Executor for your estate, make sure you speak with your choice and let them know of the responsibilities and duties that come with the task. You also have the opportunity to make the Executor duties easier, such as keeping records and instructions up to date, and having a comprehensive estate plan in place that eases the burden of your passing on your loved ones as well as your Executor.
An estate planning attorney can help you prepare a plan to meet the needs and goals of your family, as well as discussing options in choosing an Executor while creating a will.