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What are the responsibilities of the executor of an estate?

Being named the executor of someone’s estate can be a huge honor. It can mean that your loved one trusted you enough to have you be the person to handle their final affairs.

However, serving as an executor can also be a huge undertaking. As the executor, you are responsible for a variety of duties that must be completed in a timely fashion without errors.

As an executor, your primary responsibilities include managing your loved one’s final affairs and guiding their estate through the probate process. This can involve tasks, such as:

  • Finding and managing your loved one’s assets
  • Finding your loved one’s will
  • Filing the will properly in probate court
  • Using the estate to pay funeral and burial expenses
  • Using the estate to pay off your loved one’s debts
  • Closing your loved one’s financial accounts
  • Filing your loved one’s final income taxes
  • Contacting the beneficiaries
  • Distributing property to the beneficiaries according to the will

The list of duties may initially seem daunting, but organization and attention to detail can help you avoid problems along the way. Many executors also seek the help of various professionals.

If this is your first time serving as an executor, it can be beneficial to take as many precautions as possible to avoid this because you can be held personally liable for any mistake you make. 

Some common mistakes executors make, include failing to file the final income tax return on time, missing the deadline to pay taxes, favoring one beneficiary over another, self-dealing, and allowing the property insurance to lapse, among others.

Serving as an executor can be a big responsibility. However, the assistance of an experienced probate attorney help you succeed at all your duties and ensure your loved one’s final wishes are honored in the way they were meant to be.

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