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Do You Understand the Role of an Executor?

Are you named as an executor on behalf of a friend or family member? If you have found yourself as the executor position of handling someone’s estate, it is vital that you understand the responsibilities and steps that you need to take. We recommend our clients to consult with an estate planning attorney. Here are some helpful suggestions of the steps you should take as an executor.

  1. Locate the Will and Trust documents.
  2. File the Will.
  3. Identify assets.
  4. Notify creditors.
  5. Pay off debts.
  6. File taxes.
  7. Distribute assets to inheritors.

Only once debts are settled should the estate distribute inherited assets. The executor does not have a choice, your job is to make sure the estate can pay its bills first, then distribute what is left over.

Keep in mind that as an executor that you have fiduciary responsibilities. A fiduciary is someone that is required to work in the best financial interest of the person they are serving. Think twice before accepting someone’s request to be an executor. In addition we recommend to our clients that they do some serious thought to who you select as an executor of your estate.