Being the executor of someone’s estate is a serious responsibility. If someone has appointed you as their executor, you may be a bit overwhelmed and unsure of what the role actually involves. An executor is a trusted individual that is appointed to “tie up loose ends” after a person passes away. Whether you have been appointed as someone else’s executor or you want to learn more about choosing an executor in your estate plans, an experienced estate planning attorney can help.
Duties of an Executor
If a friend or family member has chosen you to be the executor of their will, this means that they trust you and believe that you are capable of carrying out important tasks. Your main responsibilities as an executor are to arrange for the payment of debts and to distribute the deceased person’s assets. Depending on the specifics of the deceased person’s estate plan and the instruments he or she used, you may also need to file the decedent’s will for probate.
More specifically, an executor may be expected to:
- Locate a copy of the deceased person’s will and file it with their local probate court
- Read the and understand the directions contained in the will
- Distribute assets to heirs according to the instructions in the will
- Obtain the death certificate
- Notify financial institutions such as banks and credit card companies of the person’s death
- Notify government agencies such as the Social Security Administration of the death.
- File an accounting of the estate’s assets with the court
- Represent the deceased person’s estate in court if needed
- Establish a bank account to receive incoming funds and/or pay the deceased person’s expenses such as mortgage payments and utility bills
- Maintain the deceased person’s home and property until it can be distributed to heirs or sold
- File a final income tax return on behalf of the deceased person
- Pay state or federal estate taxes (if required)
There are other potential responsibilities that you might have, and it is important to understand what they are before you take any action on behalf of the estate.
Contact Us for Help
The probate and estate administration processes can be complicated and hard to understand. If you are the executor of an estate or you want to learn more about choosing the right person for your own estate plan, a qualified legal professional can be a valuable source of guidance and support. Contact one of our knowledgeable Naperville estate administration lawyer at The Gierach Law Firm to get help with matters related to probate, the administration of an estate, executor duties, drafting estate plans, and more. Call our office today at 630-756-1160 and schedule confidential consultation to discuss your needs.
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