Choosing an executor is one of the most important decisions you will make when you put together or update your estate plan. You want someone who is highly trustworthy and can be counted on to distribute your assets according to the terms of the will, even if claimants and beneficiaries disagree with the outcome.
Below is an overview of the responsibilities of an estate executor, so you can identify the right person for the job. While executors are often close family members, they don’t have to be: the goal is to appoint someone who is suited to the role.
- Notifying Beneficiaries and Claimants of Your Death: After filing your will, your executor will notify creditors, government agencies, and beneficiaries of your death and advise the latter on when proceedings will occur.
- Maintaining Assets Prior to Sale or Distribution: Your executor had the duty to preserve the state of all assets until they have been sold or distributed to named heirs. For example, they cannot let your home, motor vehicle, and other property fall into such a state of disrepair that value is lost.
- Distribution of Assets: The primary responsibility of an estate executor is to distribute your assets in accordance with the terms of your will. Once all bequests and claims have been satisfied, they will ask the courts to close the estate.
- Handling All Estate Finances: Executors must open an account for all income received by the estate, such as dividends and payroll. They will also pay any bills owed by the estate, such as mortgage payments, taxes, utilities, insurance premiums, and other expenses.
With so much at stake, you should invest a considerable amount of time in choosing an appropriate estate executor. However, if your estate includes significant assets or high estate taxes, or you are concerned that some beneficiaries or disinherited parties may challenge the will, you may want to hire an experienced probate attorney to handle your estate.
Contact an Estate Planning and Probate Attorney
An estate plan is beneficial for anyone, but to make it as effective as possible, you should appoint an executor who can successfully manage the estate while handling any personal or financial challenges that arise. The estate planning team at Rosen Law, LLC can counsel your named executor through any difficulties or serve as executor if your net worth and asset structure call for experienced and professional estate management. For more information, please call (516) 437-3400 today.