The executor of your estate shoulders a significant burden in ensuring the transition of your assets and the settlement of your financial affairs. That makes your choice of executor an important one. As you weigh your options, it might help you to understand the actual responsibilities that come with the role.
There are a few primary tasks that your executor must handle.
Navigating the probate process
The probate process involves evaluating your estate, verifying assets and settling any outstanding debts. Your executor will file your will with the court to validate its authenticity. Then, they handle the identification, inventory and appraisal of your property and possessions. Finally, they settle any outstanding debts, including taxes and funeral expenses, before distributing the remaining assets according to your wishes.
The executor handles the asset distribution process, transferring property ownership, disbursing funds to beneficiaries and carrying out your wishes as outlined in your will. Beyond those tasks, your executor also resolves disputes among beneficiaries whenever possible to reduce the risk of contention and litigation over your estate distribution.
Establishing a paper trail
Your appointed executor should have the skills to navigate the legal landscape of the process. They will have to fill out court documents, meet legal deadlines and ensure compliance with applicable probate and estate distribution laws. This usually requires careful recordkeeping to document the entire process. Once complete, they also have to close out the estate, which requires additional court petitions.
With 54% of American adults in need of estate planning, it is more important than ever to know what to expect of your executor. This helps you make a sound decision about who could handle the role and the responsibility without added stress.