An executor is an individual or institution that is named in a will whose duty is to distribute estate assets according to the testator’s wishes. Acting as an executor can be stressful and time consuming so it is a good idea for a testator to make his or her choice wisely, and for someone who is asked to be an executor to investigate and review exactly what the job entails. Often the executor is the spouse of the deceased. That tends to make the role somewhat more straightforward than it would be for a family member, friend or other acquaintance. In any event, this article covers the duties and obligations of an executor.
Arranging the funeral
In addition to arranging the burial or cremation and funeral services according to the deceased’s wishes the executor would be responsible in ensuring that family, friends and interested parties (especially employer) have been notified about the death. Family members will most likely assist in this including the posting of the obituary. If there are sufficient funds in the bank account of the deceased the bank will usually release funds to cover the cost of the funeral.
Preparing for the task
An executor may wish to consider hiring a lawyer to advise and assist. The lawyer will assist with the paper work and ensure that all the executor’s obligations are discharged properly. Accounting and legal fees related to the settling of an estate are paid by the estate. The first group of tasks that a trustee must complete are:
Consider the financial needs of the beneficiaries
Protect the estate assets and pay the debts
Prepare and submit probate documents
Although it may seem like it, this is not an exhaustive list of the duties of an executor. Depending on the circumstances there may be more or less but the list above covers off the main duties and responsibilities of those who serve in the role as an executor. Like most serious endeavors, it is recommended that you always obtain professional advice to ensure that your obligations are discharged properly.