For individuals who establish an estate plan, a key task is deciding who to name as an estate’s executor. Frequently, parents turn to an adult child to fulfill this role and all of the responsibilities that come with it. If you are named the executor of a parent’s, friend’s or other relative’s estate; it’s important to fully understand what that means as well as the specific duties you will be expected to carry out and complete.

What Does An Executor Do?

While, depending on the size and complexity of an estate, an executor’s specific responsibilities will vary, the following list outlines an executor’s basic duties.

  1. Submit a will to probate court
  2. Discover and account for all assets, investments, personal belongings and property
  3. Manage and invest estate assets until an estate is settled
  4. Arrange for the appraisal of personal belongings and property
  5. Pay outstanding debts and taxes
  6. Pay funeral and burial costs
  7. Distribute assets and personal belongings and property per a will’s directives

How An Attorney Can Assist

In general, most individuals who are named as estate executors are woefully unprepared for and feel overwhelmed by all of the related requirements and responsibilities. Mistakes made with regard to the management, appraisal or distribution of estate assets, belongings and property can create discord among families. What’s more, these types of errors may result in legal action being taken against an executor.

To avoid problems and save oneself a lot of time and stress; an executor would be wise to turn to an estate planning attorney for advice and assistance. An attorney will guide an executor through the process of settling an estate and work to ensure that all assets are accounted for and managed property, debts paid and distributions made in an appropriate and timely manner.