Executors of estate plans have very specific duties that they need to handle. They must ensure they know what to do because errors can cost the heirs and beneficiaries money and cause the estate to drag on longer than necessary. It can also create legal liabilities for the executor.
A person who’s creating an estate plan can name an executor, or personal representative, to oversee it. As part of the designation, the estate plan can discuss payment to the executor. This must comply with applicable state laws, and the executor has the right to refuse payment for their services.
Executors may have to pay for some expenses, like copies of the death certificate, with their own money. This is common prior to the opening of the estate. However, they’re entitled to repayment of those expenses – and that money doesn’t come out of what they’re due if they’re being paid for their duties as an executor.
What does the executor do?
The executor has to secure the estate, locate the will and file it with the court to begin the probate process. Other duties of the estate executor include:
- Notifying creditors of the decedent’s death
- Paying bills for the estate
- Filing the final tax return for the estate
- Locating the assets
- Distributing assets according to the estate plan
- Closing the estate through probate
Being an executor is actually a complicated, time-consuming job with a lot of moving parts. That’s why it’s not uncommon for an executor to get experienced legal guidance to make sure that every task is properly handled according to the testator’s will and the law.