Executor Tasks In A Nutshell

If you have been named as executor of a will, you should consider it an important honor. Not everyone wins the trust required of this position. You may be feeling a bit overwhelmed at the responsibility of this task, but many people have only the foggiest of ideas about what it means to be a executor. The main job requirement is to oversee the estate of the deceased until the probate process is complete. Read on to learn more.

Should you accept the appointment? Many people are so surprised by the gesture that they fail to consider whether or not it would be wise to accept the role. If you don't have the time to devote to the role, or you feel that it would place an undue burden on you, you should let the person know right away, so that another person can be considered. Before you turn it down, however, a quick consultation with the attorney representing the estate could help you make a better decision. Small, simple estates require much less of an executor compared to larger estates where there is chance for it to be contested. Whatever you do, keep in mind that this is an important, legal responsibility that you owe your full attention to.

Gather paperwork: Here's a helpful list of documents that you will likely need in short order:

  1. The will, which is often found in a lock box, a safe, a desk drawer, the bank safe deposit box or at the attorney's office.

  2. Insurance policies, such as life insurance or burial policies. You should understand that one of your first responsibilities as executor is to ensure that there are enough funds available to pay for the funeral and burial. Some people have their services already arranged and paid for, but life insurance or burial polices are other common means to accomplish this task.

  3. Financial account information, such as bank savings and checking accounts, investment and retirement accounts and stocks and bonds.

  4. Real estate deeds and vehicle titles.

Probate the will: The estate attorney will file the will with the county probate office, and you will be responsible for providing the court with any needed documents. Probate can take several months to be complete.

Duties during probate:

  1. Pay certain bills, but let others wait for probate to be over. Consult with the estate attorney to learn what is a priority.

  2. Keep the estate in good order, maintaining the home and property.

  3. Complete an inventory of all assets. Use a real estate appraiser to determine the home's value.

Last, but not least: Your final task as an executor will be to ensure that the beneficiaries receive the property as stated in the will. 

Contact a company, like Blomberg Benson & Garrett, for more help.