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What Are The Duties Of An Executor?

What are the duties of an executor?

One of an executor’s first duties is to compile an inventory of estate assets. The detail required in inventorying tangible, household personal property varies, depending on the value of the property involved and how it’s to be distributed. It may be necessary for the executor to sell real estate and personal property owned by the deceased person to pay estate debts. There is usually a waiting period after the will is filed before the executor can begin distributing the assets to those listed in the will. This allows time for any creditors to come forward to declare debts that may not be known to the executor simply by going through the deceased person’s paperwork. The probate court won’t allow any claims not made to the executor in writing during this waiting period, as long as the executor has published a local newspaper legal notice that the estate is in probate. An executor may use estate funds to hire an attorney for advice or to assist in defending any creditors’ claims. It’s often a good idea for the executor to consult with an attorney, even if the executor doesn’t wish to hire an attorney to process the will through the probate process.

After all debts and taxes have been paid and assets distributed to beneficiaries, the executor submits a report or final accounting for approval by the court. The executor is entitled to reasonable compensation for his or her services, often limited to a certain percentage of the property in the probate estate. The executor’s fee is usually listed on the final report and must be approved by the probate court. Interested parties can object if the fee appears to be excessive, considering the time and effort actually expended by the executor. An executor is never personally liable on claims or lawsuits against the deceased person or the estate itself, unless he or she was negligent or engaged in some sort of wrongdoing.