What Is an Executor?
An executor is given a great deal of trust and authority, for it is this individual who is responsible for looking after the property of a decedent and paying his final debts and taxes, as well as for distributing the remainder of the estate to the named beneficiaries. If you have been appointed executor or need help in appointing one, it is important that you work with a Bryan probate attorney.
Duties of the Executor
The executor that is named to handle the decedent's affairs should be a person of strong ethics and honesty. Indeed, it is his fiduciary duty to act with good faith and diligence on behalf of the estate of the deceased. While this person does not need to be a financial professional, he should be a disinterested party to the estate.
The duties of the executor include:
- Locating the will and filing it with the probate court. This is legally required, even if the estate does not need to pass through probate.
- Locating the assets of the decedent and managing them until such time he is allowed to distribute them in accordance with the will.
- Making an estimate of the value of the estate. This can take considerable time, especially when certain items require expert valuations, such as coin collections.
- Determining whether probate will be needed. It is possible that most of the assets will not need to pass through probate, but the executor needs to find this out.
- Creating a bank account to hold assets of the deceased.
- Contacting agencies and inform them of the death of the principal. These agencies include the U.S. Postal Service, Social Security Administration, Medicare, Department of Motor Vehicles, etc.
- Paying continuing expenses such as utility bills and mortgage payments out of the estate funds.
- Paying debts and taxes out of estate funds.
- Determining who the beneficiaries are, and supervising distribution of the estate to them at the appropriate time.
For Further Information and Answers to Questions
If you have questions about the duties of the executor or need legal assistance, a Bryan probate lawyer can help. Call Peterson Law Group today to set up a consultation at 979-703-7014 or 936-337-4681.