What does an executor do? 5 examples

On Behalf of | Mar 29, 2024 | Estate Planning

One of the most important people in the estate planning process is the executor of the estate. The executor is responsible for settling the decedent’s estate. What this means is that they will need to go through several steps to help ensure several concerns of the estate are met, such as giving assets to beneficiaries. 

Executors can learn more about the responsibilities that must be met after a testator passes away. Here is what you should know: 

Locate the will and submit it to probate court

Often, the first order of business for the executor is locating the testator’s will. The testator may have already informed their executor as to the location of the will. Once the will is located, the executor can submit it to the probate court to start the probate process. The probate process allows the executor to complete their duties, which can last for several months to over a year. 

Collect death certificates 

Part of the executor’s responsibility is collecting death certificates. Several copies of a death certificate may be necessary throughout the probate process. They will often be used to notify interested parties of the testator’s death. 

Arrange the funeral 

The will may include instructions for the testator’s funeral. Costs of the funeral may have already been paid or assets from the estate may be used to pay the funeral costs. 

File taxes and pay debts

The executor is responsible for filing the decedent’s taxes and paying off any remaining debts. Interested parties may reach out during the probate process to claim assets to resolve debts and other financial obligations. 

Locate assets and beneficiaries 

The executor’s main role, as mentioned above, is to locate assets and disperse them to beneficiaries. Assets that are not immediately claimed may need to be managed until the estate is settled.

Settling an estate is not an easy process. Executors should reach out for legal guidance when necessary. 




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