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Named as the executor of an estate – Now what?

| May 24, 2021 | Estate Planning

Many Woodbury area residents have taken the time to set up an estate plan. Estate planning is important in order for a person to preserve their wealth and transfer it to the next generation. When a person makes an estate plan, they name an executor who has several tasks in order to settle the estate.

What are the major responsibilities of an estate executor?

  • Gather important documents. An executor needs to collect all existing estate documents and inventory all the assets of the deceased through insurance policies, bank statements, retirement accounts, etc.
  • The executor needs to keep consistent communication with heirs and fiduciaries.
  • Open estate account. It can be useful to open an account for the estate to hold estate assets and pay any bills.
  • Handle day to day affairs. These may include cancelling credit cards and notifying government agencies of the death.
  • Resolve disputes. If anyone challenges the will or businesses pursue debt the dispute will need to be handled in probate court.
  • Pay taxes. All tax returns for the decedent’s last year of life will need to be filed before the estate is closed. They will also need to calculate the inheritance tax.
  • Pay bills. Any unpaid bills or ongoing contracts will need to be reviewed and paid.
  • Distribute inheritances. After the estate’s debts, taxes and other liabilities are paid, the executor can distribute the inheritance.
  • Keep records. It is important for the executor to keep accurate records and send the final accounting to the court.

An estate executor has several important tasks they must complete. An attorney who specializes in estate planning can help an executor understand their role and what needs to be done in order to settle the estate.