What To Know About Estate Executorial Duties

Posted on: 24 March 2023

The duties of executors, also known as personal representatives, can vary depending on the complexity of the estate and the specific requirements of the state laws where the estate is being administered. However, here are some common duties of an estate executor:

  1. File the will: The executor is responsible for filing the deceased person's will with the appropriate court and following the legal procedures for probate. Locating the will may be accomplished by checking in desk drawers, safe deposit boxes, home safes, and more. 
  2. Manage the assets: The executor is responsible for identifying and locating all the assets of the estate, including bank accounts, investments, real estate, personal property, and other assets. The executor must take care to safeguard these assets and manage them responsibly during the probate process. The probate court will require that the executor perform an inventory of estate assets and file it with the court. A professional appraiser is sometimes required to place a financial value on a real estate asset. The probate court must place a dollar value on the entire estate.
  3. Pay debts and taxes: The executor is responsible for identifying and paying all the debts and taxes owed by the estate. This includes filing the final income tax return for the deceased person and paying any estate taxes that may be owed. The probate lawyer will advise the executor of what must be paid. Not all bills should be paid, however.
  4. Distribute the assets: After all the debts and taxes have been paid, the executor is responsible for distributing the remaining assets of the estate to the beneficiaries according to the terms of the will. That usually involves providing the beneficiaries with access to the property and the associated paperwork. For example, the executor must provide the beneficiary with vehicle titles if they inherit a vehicle. 
  5. Keep accurate records: The executor must keep accurate and detailed records of all the financial transactions related to the estate, including all income, expenses, and distributions. These records may be required for tax purposes or legal disputes.
  6. Communicate with beneficiaries: The executor is responsible for communicating with the beneficiaries of the estate and keeping them informed about the progress of the probate process and any other relevant information.

Overall, the duties of an estate executor can be complex and time-consuming. It is important for the executor to seek professional advice from a probate attorney if they are unsure about any aspect of their duties.

Contact a probate lawyer for more information.