If you have recently been appointed the executor of a will, you may be wondering what exactly an executor does. Being appointed to this role is an honor; you must exhibit the highest degree of honesty and fairness in managing the affairs of the deceased. An executor, sometimes called a personal representative, must oversee and comply with the wishes of the deceased. Read on to learn about the primary tasks of an executor:
1. A word of warning: This job is not for everyone, so you should know that you have the right to refuse the appointment, in which case someone else will be appointed. This is a serious responsibility and if the duties are not carried out in a fair and prompt manner, you may not only be removed from your duties by a probate court, but held personally liable for any mismanagement of the estate; meaning you could be sued by any interested parties.
2. As soon as possible, do a thorough and exhaustive search for these important documents:
3. An initial duty of the executor will be making sure that funds are available for the funeral and burial plans. While it is your responsibility to make sure that any wishes of the decedent is carried out, use the utmost sensitivity and seek the input of family members.
4. Read the will to determine property distribution and beneficiaries.
5. Working with a probate attorney, ensure that the will is filed in probate court as soon as possible. Your attorney can assist you in determining other needed duties, such as the publishing of the estate in a local newspaper.
6. Get organized and knowledgeable about the day to day activities of the deceased. Go through the paperwork and make a list of creditors. Discuss with the attorney which bills should be paid and which need to await the settling of the estate.
7. The executor is responsible for filing the income taxes of the deceased.
8. Notify Social Security as soon as possible if the deceased was receiving payments,especially if the payments were direct deposit, otherwise you may need to pay them back.
9. Notify banks, credit cards, Medicare and insurance companies of the death. Have a good supply of death certificates on hand to provide proof of death.
This entire process can be confusing, but the help of a probate lawyer will be invaluable. Make sure that you have a competent lawyer who will be with you every step of the way to ensure a smooth and successful probate process.Share
14 April 2015
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