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Make informed choices: Understanding an executor’s duties

On Behalf of | Aug 8, 2023 | Estate Planning |

There is a lot an executor does other than just passing over an estate to its heirs. Their role is multifaceted, and understanding their duties is essential for making an informed choice when creating your estate plan.

The person you appoint as the executor of your will plays a big part in ensuring your final wishes are carried out. For starters, they will be in charge of the probate process, which the will must go through after your death. Some of the duties of an executor include:

  • Filing your will with the probate court and initiating probate proceedings
  • Creating an inventory of all assets and conducting appraisals if necessary
  • Managing the estate’s finances, including paying off debts, taxes and expenses
  • Legally representing and transacting on behalf of the estate
  • Filing your final tax returns, such as income and estate taxes
  • Distributing assets to beneficiaries according to your will

Given these and other important duties, choosing the right executor can help safeguard your estate plans and give you peace of mind that everything will run smoothly once you are gone.

The qualities of a good executor

Ideally, an executor should be someone you trust and know can handle the probate process. They should also be organized, financially savvy, honest and impartial, with good interpersonal skills, as they will be dealing with multiple parties during the probate process. You should also consider their availability and willingness to take on the responsibilities.

Remember, it does not have to be a family member or one of your beneficiaries. What matters most is choosing a responsible and capable executor. If you are unsure who to appoint to this pivotal role, seeking qualified legal guidance can help you weigh your options and make decisions that will protect your interests and your loved ones.