What is an executor of an estate?

On Behalf of | Aug 24, 2023 | Estate Planning |

Your will is designed to help instruct how your assets are supposed to be handled after your passing. You may have your estate distributed among family members and friends — but, since you won’t be around to handle the process, someone must be put in charge.  That’s the responsibility of the executor of the estate.

The executor of the estate has a key role that establishes who will administer your estate. The executor’s main priority is to distribute your assets. However, there’s much more that will need to be done. Here’s what you should know:

What are an executor’s responsibilities?

Estate administration is a complex process. Besides distributing assets, the executor is responsible for the following: 

  • Verifying and filing the will
  • Contacting heirs
  • Paying estate taxes 
  • Gathering death certificates
  • Contacting debtors and banks about your passing
  • Filing taxes
  • Preserving and protecting assets

When necessary, the executor will administer much of the estate during probate. Probate can take over a year.

Probate can also lead to some complications such as disputes. Someone may dispute the will or probate if they believe they were due an inheritance or a larger portion of the estate. Disputes can also occur if there’s belief that a will was tampered or there was undue influence that led to the instructions left in a will. When this happens, it may take longer for beneficiaries to see their inheritance — and it would be your executor’s duty to defend your will.

How do you pick an executor of the estate?

It can help to learn about your legal options when considering who should oversee the administration of your estate.