So You’ve Been Named An Executor Of An Estate: Now What?

Many estate planning articles discuss tips and suggestions for what to include in your estate plan. This is very helpful for individuals and families drafting their estate plans, but what about the individuals who will be in charge of distributing assets from a person’s estate plan?

If you have been named an executor of someone’s estate plan, you probably have a lot of questions. Many people named as executors may feel nervous or anxious about what exactly they will be expected to do when the time comes to manage a loved one’s estate. While this may seem like a scary process, it doesn’t have to be.

Understanding what you are expected to do and what duties you will have to complete should make the process of fulfilling the duties when the time comes. So what exactly does the executor do? Below is a list of the common duties an executor must complete:

Collect assets
Pay any debts or claims against estate
Manage assets in estate
File any taxes or legal documents
Pay estate or inheritance taxes
Distribute estate to listed beneficiaries

These duties can take up to a year to complete in some cases, sometimes longer depending on the individual estate plan and if there are any legal issues.

After being named the executor of an estate, you should ask the individual and maybe even their family about any questions you may have now before it’s too late. Understanding a person’s estate plan and any specific requests can help you manage the estate in a way that honors the family’s wishes as well as reduce any confusion or tension with the beneficiaries.

Executors can also consult an estate planning attorney if they have questions or need help in managing the estate. Being named an executor may not seem like the most flattering or prominent role in a person’s life, but you should take this duty seriously and know that the person chose you to manage his or her estate because they found you trustworthy and responsible so understanding what you will be required to do after they pass away will help you and their loved ones in the end.

Source: The Time of Trenton, “How to choose the right executor for your estate,” Kurt Rossi, March 30, 2014

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