What Does the Executor of a Will Do?

It’s usually a sign of respect and admiration to be appointed the executor of a person’s will. That means that the deceased trusted the person appointed enough to take care of their affairs after they’ve passed on.

It’s a big responsibility– but that also means there’s a lot of work to go with it. Everyone listed in the will of the deceased will be looking towards the executor to ensure that property and possessions are dealt with properly.

The executor of a will has a large number of duties. These duties can range in scope and complexity depending on the estate and possessions that a person has left behind. Read on, and we’ll walk you through what you need to know about will executors.

Main Duties of a Will Executor

The act of dying may be quick and simple, but the mess of logistics the deceased leave behind certainly is anything but. It can take a lot of work to move through a person’s will and ensure that everything is properly taken care of.

The first task a will executor will need to do is to get a handle on the assets left behind by the recently deceased. This could be anything from securities to real estate. They will need to take control of these assets and manage them until they are properly distributed to the proper parties. 

In some situations, this will require the executor to decide whether or not to sell assets away on the open market, and the management of these sales.

The next big decision an executor will need to make is whether probate court proceedings need to be initiated. In many cases, a deceased’s assets will be passed onto the surviving owner, like a child or a spouse. But in some cases, especially with estates and assets of a certain value, working through probate court will be necessary.

The executor will need to hire a probate lawyer and ensure that a petition is successfully submitted to the courts. An attorney will be required to ensure that this process goes smoothly. In some situations, if the value of assets is low enough, one might be able to work through a streamlined probate process.

Distributing Property and Assets

In most cases, the deceased will have left a will behind. This will outline the deceased’s wishes, and what property they intended to go to who. The executor will need to read it and familiarize themselves with the wishes of the individual who has passed on.

In situations in which there is no will present, the executor will really serve as an administrator. They will need to look into local state laws to find out who the legal heirs to the estate.

An executor will oversee the management of these assets until ownership is formally passed over to the inheriting parties. If there are assets that are left over after the process, it will be the executor’s responsibility to dispose of everything that is not passed on. 

This can be a simple task or a very difficult one depending on the size of the estate left behind. Many assets have to be disposed of in the proper manner as stated under local laws. This can be a very lengthy process. 

Other Executor Tasks

The duties that an executor will face will vary depending on the size of estate a person has left behind. It can be a simple task or a very difficult one, all depending on how much work needs to be done. An executor can decline a position or quit at any time they want during the process.

In addition to the above, an executor will need to handle the day-to-day responsibilities that the estate requires. This might mean working through leases and credit cards and canceling agreements that are no longer needed.

It also likely means notifying various agencies and organizations of the deceased’s death. The Social Security Administration, Medicare, and other government entities will need to be notified of the death. This way they can stop providing service. Failure to notify these entities could be considered a crime.

In addition, the post office will need to be notified of the death, as well as any other organizations that might try to be in contact with the deceased individual. Subscriptions and memberships will need to be terminated if they weren’t already.

A bank account will be opened for the estate that can collect money that is owed to the deceased individual. This can collect money for years following the individual’s death. This bank account can be used to settle various debts that the deceased individual still might have outstanding. It can also be used to pay what will be known as the individual’s final tax statement. 

Yes, that’s right, even after death you still have to pay taxes. Taxes from the beginning of the year until the date of death need to be accounted for and submitted.

What Does The Executor of a Will Do?

There is a lot that the executor of a will has to take on. Not only are they in charge of passing assets on to various inheritors, but they will also need to manage the ins and outs of an estate and all of its finances. This can be a simple task or a very complex one depending on specific circumstances given.

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