Knowing the Responsibilities of an Executor of an Estate

Basically, an executor is the person another individual designates as the one to handle his or her affairs once he or she passes. There’s more entailed to this title than one may realize. The responsibilities include handling trusts, the will, and debt. In some cases, an estate could be quite complicated.

General Information About an Executor

The executor is a person who holds the responsibility of carrying out the wishes of a deceased person. In most cases, the executor will provide the will for probate. Additionally, this person must take action in certain situations to protect the person’s assets that are included in the estate. It’s also the duty of this person to distribute property to anyone who’s labeled in the will as a beneficiary. Handling any outstanding debt of the deceased is required of the executor as well.

About Probate

Funds must not be disbursed before a probate judge approves. There is an exception though, which is when the decede had a living trust. In a case where there was a living trust and all of the assets have already been given to the trust before death, the executor doesn’t have to see a judge. When there’s a living trust, the executor disperses the items to the beneficiaries without waiting for the court’s approval.

Opening the Estate

The executer must first file a will with the probate court if they have one. Typically, the executor will want to do this as soon as possible. Generally, the person will also want to file a petition to open the estate in probate at the same time. Once the estate is open, the case goes to probate court. During probate, it’s best for a person to have a probate attorney, in particular, if the will is complicated.

Consequence of Mismanagement

As previously mentioned, the executor must carry out the wishes of the deceased. If this doesn’t happen, it’s possible for the executor to be held accountable if any of the estate’s funds are mismanaged and any of the beneficiaries experience a loss.

Refusing the Role

Since estates can be complicated, some people may not want the responsibity. For instance, some people owe a great deal of debt or executing their wishes is quite extensive. Being the executor is a lot of responsibility and often time-consuming. For these reasons, an individual has the right to refuse the title of executor. When someone declines the role, the court appoints another person responsible.

Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn’t know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.