An estate executor or estate administrator takes on a very important role after someone passes away. That person has created a will and an estate plan providing instructions. The executor is in charge of carrying out these instructions and ensuring that they are followed correctly.
Those who have been named as an executor may wonder exactly what this means for them at such a critical time. The following are just three of the jobs they have to accomplish.
1. Gathering assets
First off, they need to make an inventory of assets. Are all of the assets named in the will still in the person’s estate? Have they acquired other assets that aren’t mentioned in the estate plan? It’s one thing for a will to say two beneficiaries should divide a bank account, but the executor needs to ensure the account actually exists and contains what it should.
2. Paying debts
Next, the executor may need to pay some debts for the deceased individual. They may still owe property taxes and income taxes. They may have outstanding debts to a nursing home or a credit card company. The executor ensures that money goes to the appropriate parties.
3. Distributing assets
Once the executor has gathered or inventoried the assets and paid necessary creditors, they distribute what remains to the beneficiaries in the estate plan. The will should give them directions as to how to do this, though some specifics may have been left up to their discretion.
As you can imagine, this can all be a very complicated process. If you have been named as an estate executor, be sure you know exactly what legal steps to take.