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What are the responsibilities of the executor of a will?

If you learned that you are the executor of a Delaware estate, you are likely wondering what that means and what your responsibilities will be. Knowing what is expected of you throughout this process can help you avoid complications and fulfill your duties in a reasonable manner and appropriate amount of time.

You may view it as an honor to learn you are the executor of a person's estate. This means that someone considered you to be capable and responsible of the task of settling the estate, handling complications and ensuring that the beneficiaries get what they deserve. In many cases, people named as the executor of an estate find it helpful to seek guidance as they walk through this complex and important process.

What you need to do as executor

Essentially, your job as the executor of the estate is to resolve any remaining issues related to the estate and to carry out the final wishes expressed in the decedent's estate plan. Some of the things you will have to do include the following:

  • Locate any assets related to the decedent's estate and appropriately value them
  • Determine if it is necessary to move forward with the probate process
  • Identify and locate any beneficiaries named in the will
  • Pay any remaining debts with the money and assets left in the estate
  • Distribute money and assets as directed in the will
  • Pay any final income taxes owed by the estate
  • File the will with the appropriate local probate court

These are immense responsibilities, and your job could be even more complicated when there are issues with the estate. This can include disputes with beneficiaries, contests over the terms of the will, issues with creditors and more. Even a minor misstep can increase the time that it will take you to wrap up the estate and finish your job as executor.

An experienced guide can be beneficial

Matters related to estate law are complex. Even in simple wills and straightforward estates, executors may find it beneficial to secure experienced guidance as they walk through the process. With help, you may be able to avoid complications, settle issues appropriately and meet your obligations.

As the executor of an estate, you may be grieving the loss of a loved one while you are also trying to handle his or her estate. This is difficult, yet there is support available to you and your family during this complicated time.

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