Jon R. Disrud

Dedicated To Protecting Your Rights And Guarding Your Interests

What is the responsibility of the executor?

On Behalf of | Feb 15, 2024 | Estate Planning |

A will is a legal instrument that allows the testator to instruct how their estate should be handled after they pass away. It is the job of the executor to carry out these instructions. 

An executor is named in the will and is often someone close to the testator, such as a spouse or sibling. The executor has a lot of responsibilities, so it’s important to pick someone who can handle the role. Here is what’s expected from the executor:

Locating the will and death certificate and submitting it to probate court

The executor should know where the testator secured their will. The executor will need to locate it to begin the probate process. They’ll also need to get a copy of the deceased’s death certificate from a funeral director or medical examiner. With the will and death certificate, the executor can submit it to probate court as the first step to settling the estate. 

Paying debts and taxes and notifying interested parties

The executor will need to contact interested parties. With the death certificate, the executor can contact the testator’s bank, insurers and any creditors to collect settlements and settle outstanding debts. It may also be necessary for the executor to continue the testator’s monthly expenses, such as utility bills and mortgage payments. The testator’s taxes may also need to be filed and paid. 

Locating and distributing assets to beneficiaries

The executor may also need to take inventory of the testator’s estate and appraise valuables. Once done, beneficiaries can be notified to collect their inheritance according to the testator’s last wishes. This is typically the last step before an estate is settled, which can take several months to over a year before it is done.

There are a lot of steps the executor must take before they can settle an estate. It may help to get legal guidance during this process.