As part of the will drafting process, New York residents must appoint an executor. An executor is a person who will administer your estate after you pass away. It is important to choose an executor who you believe is best suited to carry out your wishes in the event of your death. Therefore, an understanding of what exactly an executor does is necessary.
An executor has a legal duty to act in your best wishes and according to the terms specified in your will. This is called a fiduciary duty. Some of an executor’s main duties include:
- Identify all your assets and have them appraised
- Paying your bills and creditors, as well as estate costs and taxes
- Distribute your property according to the instructions in your will
Why having an executor is important
You may put off drafting a will and appointing an executor for various reasons. You may feel that you are too young, or in good health, and that drafting a will is not an immediate concern.
However, without a will, your estate will be required to go through the probate process. An executor is still appointed as part of the probate process and has the same responsibilities as outlined above. However, asset distribution will be according to the complex rules of probate, rather than your will.
Having an executor that you trust and have confidence in can be a huge relief. You can rest assured and have peace of mind that your property and assets will go to the loved ones of your choosing, and they will be taken care of if something happens to you.
There are various requirements to drafting and filing a valid will that includes the appointment of an executor. A qualified estate planning attorney can help.