We recently came across an interesting article on Legalzoom that discussed, in detail, the top 10 duties of an executor. Today we’ll summarize those duties, in bullet format, for a quick and easy read.

  • Get a copy of the will and file it in probate court. You should also read and understand the will, and determine who inherits property and belongings.
  • Notify banks, credit card companies and government agencies of the individual’s death. Regarding government agencies, start with the Social Security Administration.
  • Prepare for incoming funds and outgoing bills. If the deceased is owed money, set up a bank account to hold these funds. Bills, such as the mortgage payment and utilities, still need to be paid during probate.
  • File an inventory of assets with the court. This should be a detailed list of all belongings.
  • Decide what kind of probate is necessary. Inheritance laws differ by state, and probate is not always necessary in some cases. Consult an estate attorney for direction.
  • Maintain property. One of the most important roles of the executor is to secure and maintain all property and belongings until distributed or sold.
  • Pay debts and taxes. The executor must notify creditors, file income tax returns for the deceased and, if the estate is large enough, pay federal estate taxes.
  • Distribute all assets as expressed in the will. If there is no will, state laws will apply.
  • Dispose of remaining property. The executor is responsible for disposing of any property that remains after the distribution to heirs and payment of all estate debts.
  • Represent the estate in court, if necessary.

Keep in mind that this is just a quick summary of the many responsibilities of an executor. Remember, laws pertaining to executors vary from state to state. When in doubt, it’s best to consult an estate attorney or an experienced Realtor for sound advice.