Executor of the Estate

An executor is involved when there is a will, and is named in the will. This person is in charge of administering the estate upon death of the decedent. He or she is responsible to beneficiaries, creditors, tax authorities, and others.

Sample duties of an executor can include:

  • File the will with the appropriate probate court
  • Inform beneficiaries of actions taken on behalf of the estate
  • Inventory assets such as bank accounts, real estate deeds, brokerage accounts, stock and bond certificates and other property
  • Manage and protect the estate property
  • Pay any debts owed at the time of death
  • Inventory the contents of all safe deposit boxes
  • Close bank or brokerage accounts
  • Open a checking account for the estate to pay debts and other obligations
  • Locate insurance policies and file benefits claims
  • Retain the services of professionals such as accountants, attorneys and financial advisors as needed
  • Maintain estate records and file any required accountings
  • File tax returns and pay any tax due
  • Close the estate after ensuring that all claims are paid. Distribute the remaining assets to the beneficiaries

Administrator of the Estate

An administrator for an estate becomes necessary when a person leaves no will. Administrators are typically appointed by the Court. The administrator settles debts, pays taxes and funeral expenses, and distributes the remainder according to law. Administrators fulfill many of the same responsibilities as executors.

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