Executor Duties: 8 Key Responsibilities to Know

Serving as an executor is a significant responsibility that involves managing and settling the estate of a deceased person according to their wishes and legal requirements. Understanding the key duties involved can help ensure the process goes smoothly and efficiently. Here are eight essential responsibilities of an executor:

  1. Probate Process Initiation:

File the will with the local probate court to begin the legal process of validating the will and appointing you as the executor.

  1. Inventory and Valuation of Assets:

Compile a comprehensive list of the deceased’s assets, including real estate, personal property, bank accounts, investments, and other valuables.

Obtain appraisals for any property or items of significant value to determine the estate’s total worth.

  1. Debt and Tax Management:

Notify creditors of the death and pay any outstanding debts from the estate’s funds.

File the final income tax return for the deceased and any necessary estate tax returns. Pay any taxes owed.

  1. Asset Protection:

Ensure the estate’s assets are safeguarded during the probate process. This might include maintaining insurance, securing properties, and managing investments.

  1. Communication with Beneficiaries:

Keep beneficiaries informed about the probate process, the status of the estate, and any issues that arise. This involves regular updates and transparency.

  1. Distribution of Assets:

Distribute the assets to beneficiaries according to the instructions in the will, once debts and taxes have been paid and the probate court has approved the final distribution plan.

  1. Record Keeping:

Maintain detailed records of all transactions, communications, and actions taken during the probate process. This includes keeping receipts, bank statements, and correspondence.

  1. Closing the Estate:

Once all duties are fulfilled, file a final accounting with the probate court, showing all financial activities related to the estate. Obtain the court’s approval to officially close the estate.

If you have been named an executor and need guidance, or if you are planning your estate and want to ensure your executor is well-prepared, consulting with an estate planning attorney can be invaluable. The Estate Planning Law Office of Jonathon L. Petty, Inc. can provide the expertise and support needed to navigate this complex process. Reach out to us at 559-374-2223 or complete our online form and we will be in touch to schedule an appointment. We are here to assist you every step of the way.