The executor of the estate has an immense role in an estate plan. They are responsible for executing the terms of a will after the testator passes away.
The testator may want to consider talking to their executor about their duties. Here’s what you should know:
1. How to obtain a death certificate
The executor of the estate is responsible for collecting multiple copies of the testator’s death certificate. A death certificate will likely be needed to notify banks, life insurers and creditors. Executors can often obtain these records from funeral homes or the Department of Health. Making sure an executor understands this could help the probate process.
2. Where to find the will
The testator likely has a copy of their will. They may want to inform the executor as to where this can be located. If the will is lost, the executor may be able to find a copy from the county probate courts.
3. Why they need to file the will
The executor is responsible for submitting the will to probate court. If the will is valid, the probate process can start, further continuing the responsibilities of the executor. Without a valid will, the state will take over. The state can then decide how the estate is distributed. This often goes against the last wishes of the testator.
4. What assets to protect
The testator may consider what assets are important enough to secure for the probate process. Once the valuable assets are located, the executor can then distribute them safely to beneficiaries.
5. How to contact beneficiaries
Beneficiaries may live in other states or countries. The testator may consider providing the executor with information that can help them contact beneficiaries.
The duties of an executor can be complicated. If a testator believes their executor needs additional resources, then they may recommend legal help.