A Florida resident who is named as the executor of a decedent’s will may be apprehensive about the responsibilities that accompany that position. The executor needs to make sure the desires of the deceased person are fulfilled and the remaining financial obligations of the person’s estate are taken care of.
Perhaps the easiest activity is making sure a final income tax return is filed for the deceased. In addition, if the decedent was collecting Social Security benefits, the executor must notify the Social Security Administration of the death. Canceling credit cards and closing bank accounts could also be the responsibility of the executor.
An executor may first want to consider if the person’s will should be probated. Whether or not this is the case will depend upon the law of the state having jurisdiction and, in some cases, the value of the estate. The executor must locate and identify the assets owned by the decedent and make sure they are secure until they can be distributed to heirs according to the provisions contained in the will.
Many executors choose to set up a bank account for the estate. The bank account helps the executor pay off the obligations of the decedent. In all cases, the estate’s funds and the executor’s monies must be kept separate. Often, an executor will rely on the advice and counsel of an attorney when carrying out these estate administration tasks. It is important for executors to understand that they have a fiduciary duty to the decedent and the beneficiaries, and as such, must perform their duties in an honest and diligent manner.