What are the Responsibilities for an Executor of an Estate?

September 9, 2014

If you have are creating or making changes to an estate plan, chances are that you have considered who to name as the executor of the estate. And if you have been assigned this role, you are probably wondering what responsibilities you have.

In either case, it can be crucial to understand what a person in this role does, what is expected of him or her and what skills may best suit the person named as executor. In this post, we will take a look at the definition of and duties assigned to executors.

The executor of an estate is a person or entity that is tasked with making sure a person’s will and best interests are carried out and resolved appropriately. Basically, this party ensures that assets are divided in accordance to a person’s wishes and sees to it that debts are paid off.

In this role, executors are required to:

  • identify assets;
  • attend required hearings;
  • locate the people affected by a deceased person’s wishes and contact them;
  • make debt, bill and tax payments;
  • handle remaining banking responsibilities; and
  • ensuring the appropriate parties are notified of the person’s death.

Due to the wide range of responsibilities, from financial to personal to legal, the role of executor is often a crucial designation that must be taken seriously. When considering whom to nominate or assign to this position, a person may want to seek out a party capable of taking on these duties.

Many people choose to name an attorney, financial institution or trusted friend experienced in legal or banking matters as the executor. Anyone in this position should be able to manage a number of details, be proactive in problem-solving and make critical decisions based on the best wishes of the deceased person.

Naming an executor or after being named in this capacity is not something that should be taken lightly. Each person has unique circumstances that must be considered, so speaking with an attorney to better understand what is at stake could be a good way to protect yourself or the estate you are expected to manage.

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