What is the executor of an estate? The estate executor is the individual who has been appointed in the will of the deceased person as the administrator of the will and to make sure their wishes are fulfilled. The administrator of an estate has to shoulder a lot of responsibilities after the demise of the owner of the will.
What are the responsibilities of an executor?
Their responsibilities primarily include probating the will, paying bills and taxes, filing all required court and tax returns, liquidating assets and then distributing the assets among beneficiaries. Their duties are outlined as follows:
Probate: It is the duty of the executor to probate or give legal effect to the will by the court. The executor gets the power to execute his responsibilities under the provisions of the will once the court validates that the will was validly executed.
Managing the estate: The court at times needs a public accounting of the estate assets, which must be found and may have to be collected. As part of the asset management function, the executor may have to liquidate or run a business or manage a securities portfolio. The executor will have to obtain tax waivers, stock power, file affidavits, among other things.
Paying the debts: Estate’s creditors have debts to be paid which must sometimes be litigated to find out whether it is valid or not. All the expenses, including the fees of the probate attorneys, accountants and appraisers, must also be paid.
Taking care of the tax matters: It is the executor’s duty to file all the necessary income and estate tax returns and pay all death taxes. They can in some cases be held personally liable for unpaid taxes of the estate. The tax returns to be filed include the income tax return of the estate, the state death tax return, the federal tax return and the final income tax return of the deceased individual.
Distributing the assets: The executor is responsible for the distribution of the assets after all debts and expenses have been paid.
Removal of executor or administrator
An executor can be removed from his job if they:
- Neglect to render the account and settle the estate according to law
- Neglect performance of an order or judgment of the court, or a duty provided by the rule
- Become insane
- Become incapable or unsuitable to discharge the trust