The executor of an estate is responsible for carrying out the final wishes of the deceased according to their last will and testament. Their duties are numerous and can often be overwhelming which is one reason why having a probate attorney on your side is a definite plus. Today we’re going to cover a few of the most important duties and what they entail.
20 Duties of an Executor of an Estate (In No Particular Order)
1. The executor of the estate is usually the person responsible for beginning the probate process by filing with the probate court. They are also responsible for deciding what type of probate process is necessary for the estate based on current laws and the size of the decedent’s estate.
2. Selling off property that the decedent owned so that the proceeds may be distributed among beneficiaries or used to pay debts owed by the decedent. This is done according to the last will and testament of the decedent or IF directed to do so by state law or the courts.
3. Ensuring the assets of the decedent are distributed according to the last will and testament.
4. Filing tax returns for the decedent.
5. Read through and make sure that the last will and testament of the decedent is understood and be aware of and understand any trusts that are in place.
6. Determining what the decedent is stating in their last will and testament and clearly define that so that beneficiaries have a better picture of what is happening with the estate.
7. Develop a list of any beneficiaries of the estate and contact information for those individuals. This includes tracking down beneficiaries who may be difficult to find.
8. Help any beneficiaries of the estate to understand the last will and testament, explain your plan of action, and explain the probate process and the length of time it can take for a case to move through probate court.
9. Hire a probate attorney to assist with the probate process. This includes interviewing prospect attorneys, finding a reputable attorney, and hiring an estate attorney who can help with your particular circumstances.
10. Hire a financial planner/accountant who can help to monitor and document the financials of the probate and executor processes as well as assist with the financial decisions involved with the probate process.
11. The executor of the estate may be asked to make funeral arrangements for the deceased. These arrangements should be made according to the last will and testament of the decedent. If there are no arrangements laid out by the decedent, it is up to the executor of the estate to use their best judgment to arrange the funeral according to what they believe the decedent would have wanted. Responsibilities can include anything from picking out a funeral home to determining which type of service is possible based on the financials of the estate and how best to go about planning it.
12. Ensure that final expenses are covered by the decedent’s estate. This can sometimes require making payment plans until the money from the estate is freed up to cover these costs. The executor of the estate is responsible for ensuring that money is available to cover the cost of the arrangements before those arrangements are made. IF the executor makes arrangements knowing that the estate is unable to pay the cost, the executor may be held responsible for paying them his or her self.
13. If the decedent has little money available to cover the cost of their final arrangements, the executor of the estate should also seek out government or state-funded programs that can help to cover funeral costs.
14. An executor of the estate should is responsible for familiarizing themselves with the state probate laws or consult a probate attorney to ensure that all state laws are being followed. This is particularly important when it comes to the priority in which bills and creditors should be paid from the estate’s assets.
15. The executor of the estate must track every expense to the penny, this includes money spent on final arrangements, death notifications, and hours that you have served as the executor so that they can justify the final compensation they request in return for their services.
16. The executor of the estate is usually the person responsible for beginning the probate process by filing with the probate court.
17. The executor of the estate is responsible for gathering and for caring for the assets of the estate of the decedent until such a time as they can be disbursed among the beneficiaries.
18. The executor is also responsible for notifying credit card companies, banks, and government agencies of the death of the decedent so that the proper avenues can be taken to close out accounts and ensure that the right notifications are made to those accounts.
19. The executor of the estate must set up a bank account to receive any funds that are incoming for the decedent. This account will collect the necessary funds and be used to pay any bills that are outstanding. or that come in during the probate procedure.
20. In addition to caring for the assets of the estate of the decedent, the executor of the estate must arrange for maintenance as necessary. For example, if the decedent owned property, the executor is responsible for ensuring that the property is properly maintained. This may mean anything from arranging for repairs or having the lawn cared for.
Need Assistance as the Executor of the Estate
If you are the executor of the estate and need assistance from an experienced Florida probate attorney who can guide you through the process, Weidner Law can help. Just give us a call today at 727-954-8752.