An executor of estate is a person who is in charge of managing the affairs of a dead person’s probate estate. A person who is deceased can’t own property any longer. This means that everything they own when they die needs to be transferred legally to living beneficiaries.
This is why we have probate. Probate is a legal process that makes sure that the dead person’s liabilities and debts are paid from the assets and money that was left behind. Ownership of what is left is then transferred to the beneficiaries.
Have you been assigned as someone’s executor of estate? If you have, then you have come to the right place. So keep on reading and we will take you through our guide to being an executor of estate.
The Probate Process
Probate can last for several months. If an estate is especially complicated, it can last for even years in some instances.
The executor of estate is in charge of running the estate during the whole probate process. This usually includes seeking approval from the probate court before certain actions can be taken. It can also include many court filings and even several court appearances.
The executor needs to deal with heirs, beneficiaries, and professionals, such as appraisers and accountants. The duties of an executor during the probate process will take place in a fairly chronological order.
Submitting the Will
The first order of business for the executor is to submit the dead person’s last will and testament to the probate court. The will needs to be reviewed and accept. This will officially start the process of opening the probate estate.
The executor needs to attend a hearing where a judge is going to decide if the will is valid and if it meets the letter of the law. It can’t contain any procedural errors.
This hearing is also going to provide an opening for people who have an interest in the estate to fight the will. They can open a lawsuit and try to convince the court that the will is not valid and that the terms of the will shouldn’t be followed.
Appointing an Executor
A person will usually identify the executor in the will. The judge will usually appoint this person unless the beneficiaries object, which they do with a lawsuit.
If the will doesn’t say anything about an executor or there is no will, then the judge will appoint a close family member to look over the estate. A lot of states have laws that state which relative is able to be an executor and the order of preference.
The judge is going to grant the executor the ability to act on behalf of the estate through letters of administration or letters testamentary. Executors give these documents to organizations like financial institutions or insurance companies to confirm that they have the legal authority to run the estate.
The executor first needs to find all of the assets and gather them to keep them safe. This is usually the case when the decedent has left artwork or jewelry behind.
If this kind of property is not secured, it may very well be stolen.
Part of this process might actually involve hunting down assets. The executor might need to search safe deposit boxes, insurance policies, and investment and bank accounts.
The executor is usually going to go through the person’s personal papers and talk to family members so that they can track down all of the accounts that exist.
These assets might be noted in the person’s will. However, an executor should not assume that there are no other assets just because they are not in the will.
The deceased might have acquired the assets after they wrote the will or simply forgot to include them.
The executor needs to keep the assets maintained after they have been collected and identified. This might involve making sure that an insurance policy doesn’t expire and that all loans are being paid.
The money from the estate is needed for this purpose. The executor needs to set up an estate bank account and transfer the dead person’s accounts to this new account.
All of the deceased’s assets need to be submitted to the probate court.
One of the biggest mistakes to avoid is failing to gather all of the assets.
Paying the Decedent’s Debts
The creditors of the dead person need to be notified because the estate needs to pay all of the final debts and bills. Beneficiaries do not need to pay the debts.
An executor first needs to identify all of the creditors. They then need to send a notice and run a notice in a newspaper too.
A creditor can makea claim to the estate to get paid. The executor decides if the claims are valid. If they are, then the debts are paid from the estate funds.
If a creditor is not seen as valid, they can petition the court.
The Importance of Using This Guide to Being Executor of Estate
Hopefully, after reading the above article, you now have a better idea of how to be an executor of estate. As we can see, there is a lot involved in the job. But by knowing how it all works, you can make sure that you do an adequate job.
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