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Duties of executors

Florida residents who have been named executors of a will or who are preparing their own may wonder what kinds of duties an executor has. While they deal with complex financial matters, executors are not expected to be experts on taxes or legal issues. An executor may and often will hire professionals to advise on these matters.

Executors may have to deal with family conflict during a stressful time. This may be even more difficult if the executor is also an heir. If this is the case, it is important that the executor be able to separate that fact from the executor duties. Testators who are appointing an executor may want to name someone who is effective at handling conflict.

Executors should keep in mind that they may need to be aware of assets that are not passed down through the will. For example, estate taxes may still be owed on retirement accounts and life insurance policies. Executors, who are responsible for making sure that estate tax returns are filed correctly, may need to contact the beneficiaries of those accounts.

Being an executor is a big responsibility, and those who have been asked to be executors by their loved ones who are preparing an estate plan may want to consider whether they will be able to perform the duties. People who are preparing a will might want to think about the qualities their executor will need as well. The executor should be trustworthy, organized and able to manage any family problems that may arise. An executor should also be able to cope with stress, meet deadlines and handle paperwork. It is helpful if the executor is a neutral party or is at least able to remain neutral during the process of probate and estate administration.

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