The Importance Of Understanding An Executor’s Role

You have several essential duties if you’ve been named an executor. The responsibility can be overwhelming and challenging, but your obligations will become more manageable with proper planning and attention to detail. Executors can be held personally liable for any missteps, so it’s essential to have an experienced attorney to guide you through the probate process and ensure everything goes smoothly.


Though we will circle back to this later, people new to estate planning need a refined understanding of what being an executor entails. This is because you must choose an executor when you draft a will. This position comes with significant responsibility and should not be entered into lightly. You should talk with the person you want to choose to ensure they are comfortable fulfilling the position. Lastly, almost any adult could be asked to be an executor.


Overseeing the Estate and Its Assets

An executor is tasked with properly gathering all the estate’s assets to distribute to the beneficiaries. This can include real estate, investments, vehicles, personal property, and more. With larger estates, you may need to work with a CPA or other financial professional to help manage the estate’s assets, organize important documents and paperwork, and ensure everything is done according to the law. A catalog of all of the assets in the estate and how they should be distributed will help keep track of the entire estate.


How the Heirs Receive Their Assets 

After settling an estate and all the assets are accounted for, you must distribute the funds to the entitled heirs. This includes filing any necessary tax returns and distributing any inheritance or estate tax that may be owed. Estate taxes often require additional payments to the state and federal government, which can significantly affect an executor’s finances. That’s why it’s recommended that you work with a knowledgeable tax professional to minimize the expenses and maximize how much gets passed down to the heirs.


Managing & Protecting the Estate 

While distributing funds and settling accounts can be taxing and time-consuming, one of the essential tasks of an executor is ensuring that the decedent’s property is managed appropriately. This includes ensuring that bills are paid on time, repairs are made when necessary, and other legal responsibilities are met as specified by the will or the law. While acting as the executor, your fiduciary duty is to ensure that the estate property is not mishandled. While it is not your property, it is under your control and should be handled carefully to avoid potential issues.


Speak with an Attorney at Drucker & Mattia, PLLC 

Our attorneys will guide you through creating a will, forming a trust, or utilizing other critical estate planning documents such as powers of attorney, living wills, and health care proxies. We discussed the role of an executor because you need to understand their critical responsibilities before selecting one. If you have further questions about what an executor does or are ready to build your estate plan, contact our office to schedule a consultation

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