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What is the role of an executor?

On Behalf of | Oct 21, 2023 | Estate Planning

Administering the last wishes of a departed loved one is a responsibility that falls upon the shoulders of an executor. This role ensures a smooth transition of assets and settling affairs.

Understanding the duties of an executor is important for someone in that position, as they become the linchpin in orchestrating the final act of a person’s life choices.

Initiating probate

The executor’s journey typically begins with the initiation of probate, which is a legal process that validates the deceased person’s will. This involves submitting the will to the court. The executor must make sure that all documentation is in order for the court’s scrutiny.

Identifying and valuing assets

A central task for an executor is the identification and valuation of the deceased’s assets. This includes real estate and investments, as well as personal belongings. The executor must compile an inventory, assigning values to each piece of the estate.

Clearing debts and distributing assets

Before heirs receive their designated shares, the executor must address outstanding debts and liabilities. This involves settling debts, such as mortgages and outstanding bills, to ensure a fair distribution of the remaining assets. An executor’s ability to handle financial matters is important during this phase.

Communicating with beneficiaries

Great communication becomes a cornerstone of the executor’s responsibilities. Keeping beneficiaries informed about the progress of the estate settlement process increases trust and minimizes the potential for conflicts. Regular updates on the status of assets, debts and the overall timeline of the administration process reassure those waiting for their inheritance.

Closing the estate

The final act is the closure of the estate. This involves filing tax returns, obtaining the court’s approval and distributing the remaining assets to beneficiaries.

Although 42% of Americans in 2022 stated that they had not made an estate plan yet due to procrastination, those who have should select their executors well. Executors need fortitude and the ability to put stress aside while doing this job. As keepers of the deceased’s final wishes, they stand as responsible pillars in the realm of estate administration.