In the real estate profession, the words “estate executor” come up rather often during conversations with homeowners, attorneys, financial experts and other industry professionals. Then again, there are many individuals who probably have no idea about the important role played by an estate executor who is left to oversee the property and belongings of a deceased friend or family member.
So what does an executor do? Recently, we came across an article on FindLaw.com that went into great detail on this subject. Following is a summary of some of the more important points we highlighted and now wish to share.
- In simple terms, the executor oversees disposition of property and possessions. It’s a large responsibility making sure that a person’s last wishes are granted. The executor is responsible for making sure that any debts and creditors that the deceased had are paid off, and that any remaining money or property is distributed according to their wishes.
- While an executor does not have to be a lawyer or a financial expert, the law does require an executor to fulfill his or her duties with the utmost honesty and diligence. The legal term for this is “fiduciary duty.”
- An executor is not entitled to proceeds from the sale of property of the estate, but is often entitled to a fee as compensation for administering the will. Most states mandate that this fee be reasonable given the size or complexity of the will.
- There are many duties that an executor of a will may have to fulfill. These duties could include finding the deceased person’s assets and keeping them safe until they can be properly distributed, deciding if probating the last will and testament in court is necessary, finding and contacting people that were named in a will who are supposed to inherit money or property, making sure the will is filed in the appropriate probate court and wrapping up the deceased’s affairs.
- Other responsibilities may include setting up a bank account for the estate, continuing all necessary payments, paying off debts and creditors, paying final income taxes and ensuring the property distribution of the deceased’s property.
While serving as an executor is not an easy task, it is an honorable endeavor that should be completed to the very best of your ability.