You may have heard the word “executor” but have no idea what one is. Or, maybe you’ve been asked to be an executor. Either way, it sounds like an important job, but what exactly does an executor do?
An executor is the chief administrator of a will. If you are drafting a will, your attorney will ask you who you want to be the executor. You may pick a relative, such as your spouse. However, you can pick anyone you think would be trustworthy and would do a good job. It’s important to exercise due diligence when selecting the executor of your will because it is an important job.
Executors are charged with processing the terms of the will, and some typical duties of an executor are:
- Probate the will. This means initiating the court process known as probate through which the decedent’s assets are transferred to the beneficiaries.
- Collect the assets of the decedent. The executor needs to perform a comprehensive search for all of the decedent’s assets. If the executor is careless or negligent in this task, the executor can be liable to persons who are negatively affected.
- Pay the decedent’s debts
- Pay administrative expenses
- Pay taxes that are due on the decedent’s estate
After the debts, administrative expenses and taxes are paid, the executor distributes all of the remaining assets according to the terms of the will. Executors have a fiduciary duty to the estate and can be held liable for mismanagement. As a result, executors often retain an attorney or a certified public accountant to provide assistance.
Executors are reimbursed for expenses they incur throughout the process, and they are sometimes also entitled to statutory fees.
The choice of an executor is important, and if you are selected to be an executor, it’s a big responsibility. If either of these situations applies to you, contact an experienced estate and probate attorney at The Quitmeier Law Firm who can provide proper assistance to get the job done.