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Being named as an executor

When Florida residents are asked to serve as the executors under people's wills, they will likely feel honored that the testators such trust in them. Before accepting the responsibility that goes along with being an executor, it is important to understand what is involved. Estate administration can be a complicated process that involves some liability risk.

The executor of a will is responsible for gathering all of the decedent's assets and distributing them to the beneficiaries that are listed in the will. If the testator owed money to creditors, the executor must make sure that those debts are settled. The executor is also responsible for notifying all relevant government agencies, financial institutions and companies about the testator's death.

After the testator's death, the executor is also responsible for maintaining the testator's home and making all of the home-related payments. To protect the property in the testator's home, an executor often elects to change the locks and place the most valuable property in storage. The executor also must prepare and file the decedent's final income tax return as well as the federal estate tax return.

If executors do not distribute a testator's assets properly or fail to pay taxes on the estate, they could be held liable for these omissions. As there are a variety of serious matters and responsibilities that may require legal advice, a person who has been appointed as an executor but who is unsure about the duties that are involved may want to obtain the advice and counsel of an attorney who has experience with probate issues.

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