ARTICLE: 8 Responsibilities of an Executor

8 Responsibilities of an Executor

An executor plays a crucial role in the administration of an estate after someone passes away. Here are 8 essential responsibilities typically assigned to an executor:

  1. Locating the Will The executor is responsible for finding the deceased’s last will and testament and ensuring its authenticity. This document outlines the deceased’s wishes regarding the distribution of their assets and may specify the appointed executor.


  1. Filing for Probate The executor must file the will with the local probate court. Probate is the legal process through which the will is validated, and the executor is formally appointed to manage the deceased’s estate.


  1. Identifying and Securing Assets The executor needs to locate all of the deceased’s assets, which can include bank accounts, real estate, investments, personal possessions, and more. These assets must be secured and managed until they can be properly distributed.


  1. Paying Debts and Taxes Before assets can be distributed to the beneficiaries, the executor must ensure that all outstanding debts and taxes of the deceased are paid. This might involve selling assets to cover these liabilities.


  1. Managing the Estate The executor may need to manage the estate for an extended period, which can include running a business, maintaining property, and investing assets. This requires careful management to ensure that the estate’s value is preserved or enhanced for the beneficiaries.


  1. Distributing Assets to Beneficiaries After debts and taxes are settled, the executor is responsible for distributing the remaining assets according to the will’s instructions. If the will is unclear, the executor may need to make decisions in the best interest of the beneficiaries.


  1. Maintaining Records The executor must keep detailed records of all transactions related to the estate, including the payment of debts, the sale of assets, and the distribution of inheritances. These records are important for both legal and tax purposes.


  1. Closing the Estate Once all debts are paid, assets distributed, and necessary tax returns filed, the executor can formally close the estate. This often involves filing a final account with the probate court and obtaining approval for the actions taken during the estate’s administration.


These responsibilities can be complex and time-consuming, often requiring legal, financial, and real estate expertise. If you find yourself appointed as an executor or are in the process of drafting your will and considering whom to appoint, consulting with an estate planning attorney can be invaluable. Roth Elder Law can provide expert advice tailored to your unique situation. For assistance, Call us at 607-962-6162 or complete this intake form and we’ll be in touch to schedule a meeting.

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We at Roth Elder Law, PLLC, believe in providing services in a way that clients can easily understand and meaningfully participate in designing and maintaining their estate plan for their loved ones, as well as be assured that their plan will be administered according to their wishes.