It isn’t uncommon for people to be asked to be an executor of someone’s estate, especially when that person is a close friend or a relative. But if you have been asked to be an executor, how do you know how to respond? Should you accept the appointment? How do you make a decision? What kind of factors should you weigh when making your choice?
To determine what you should say when asked to be an executor, you first need to understand what your duties and responsibilities will be should you accept. You should also have a good understanding of what kinds of traits you might need to have to successfully fulfill those responsibilities. Today we are going to take a look at what you should think about if and when you are ever asked to be an executor.
Asked to be an Executor: Responsibilities
Being an executor, also known as an estate administrator or personal representative, is an important job, and one you need to approach just as you would any position of responsibility. As an executor it will be your job to manage the estate left behind by a deceased person. That estate will be comprised of property and other interests, and will have to be redistributed to new owners in accordance with both state law and the wishes of the deceased person.
Put simply, an executor is responsible for taking control of all the property left behind by a deceased person and managing it until it is successfully transferred to the rightful legal inheritors. As executor you will have to take an inventory of all the property, allow creditors to file claims for any money they believe the deceased person owed, use estate funds to pay creditors, and comply with the instructions of the deceased in determining who receives what is left over.
This process is generally known as the estate settlement or probate process. There are specific laws that apply to it, and the entire process will be supervised by a probate court. Nevertheless you, as the executor, are the person who will primarily be responsible for the day-to-day tasks of settling the estate.
Asked to be an Executor: Abilities
So how do you know if you should be an executor or not? There are some general traits or abilities executors should have in order to carry out their responsibilities properly.
First, as an executor you will have to comply with all relevant probate and estate settlement laws. However, this doesn’t mean you have to be a legal expert. Most executors have attorneys who advise them about what they need to do. The attorney will be paid with estate funds and will be there to make sure that you, as an executor, act appropriately.
Second, as an executor you will need to be able to keep track of important details, perform your duties in a timely fashion, and act responsibly when managing the estate.
As long as you are capable of meeting these basic requirements, serving as an executor is often a rewarding experience because it allows you to make sure that a deceased person’s final wishes are carried out.
- Understanding Estate Planning – What is a Letter of Instruction? - April 2, 2020
- Do I Really Need an Estate Plan? - March 31, 2020
- Founding Attorney, Larry Parman, Shares a Personal and Insightful Message about the Coronavirus Situation and How the Firm is Handling It (click on the video below) - March 27, 2020