When someone dies, the executor of their will is responsible for handling their estate. But, what does an executor of a will do? The role of executor is a challenging one, and it’s important to know what you’ll need to do if you’re asked to take on that responsibility. Being an executor of a will involves more responsibility than simply reading the document and then carrying out its terms. An executor must be willing to spend time and money on tasks that are not as thrilling as reading about them sounds. Let’s take a look at 7 things an executor is responsible for if you are asked to take on that role.
List of Contents
- 1 What is an Executor of a Will?
- 2 How Do Executors of Wills Get Appointed?
- 3 Donate to Charity
- 4 Pay off Debt
- 5 Distribute assets as directed by the will
- 6 Handle the estate’s taxes
- 7 Visit, research, and inventory assets
- 8 Notify beneficiaries of their inheritance
- 9 Sell any asset that is not specifically bequeathed
- 10 Conclusion
- 11 We Can Help
What is an Executor of a Will?
An executor of a will is the person who handles the administration of a deceased person’s estate. The will’s executor has the responsibility of gathering and distributing the deceased person’s assets according to the terms of the will. In order to be an executor, one must be named in another person’s will. An executor of a will is responsible for gathering and distributing the deceased person’s assets according to the terms of the will. Executors often serve in a fiduciary capacity, which means they must act in the best interest of the estate.
How Do Executors of Wills Get Appointed?
What does an executor of a will do to get appointed to the assets of the deceased? There are two ways you could become an executor of a will. The first is that you could be specifically named as an executor in the will. Your loved one may have considered that you may not be able to serve if you are still living in another state or even another country. In that case, they may have specified another person to act as an alternate executor. The second way you could end up as an executor is if you are the surviving spouse. Your loved one may have specifically named you as an executor in their will. They may have chosen you because you can act as executor without being named in the will.
Donate to Charity
Of the things an executor of a will is responsible for, one is that you must donate any items in the deceased person’s estate that are not needed or are not bequeathed to someone else. You can donate those items to charity. You may want to consult with the person’s family; if not, you can select a charity that is meaningful to the deceased person. You also have to find out if the deceased person had any interests in their estate that required the proceeds from their book sales or other intellectual property to go to charity.
Pay off Debt
What does an executor of a will do to the debts of their clients? The executor of the will is responsible for paying off the deceased person’s debts. If the will does not make it clear which debts are to be paid first, it is prudent to pay off any debts due to the government. The executor is responsible for all debts incurred after the date of death. You should pay off debts according to the order of priority. The first debts that should be paid are any medical bills incurred by the deceased person before they died. Next, you should pay off any funeral bills. Next, you should pay off any federal and state taxes owed by the deceased person. Last, you should pay off any debts owed to family members or friends.
Distribute assets as directed by the will
An executor of a will is responsible for distributing the assets that are bequeathed by the will. This may include selling real estate or other assets that will require an appraisal. You may need to hire an appraiser to value the assets in the estate. You may also need to hire a lawyer to draw up the deeds, contracts or other documents that are required to sell assets or transfer them to the beneficiaries named in the will. You may also need to hire an accountant to help you with the accounting you must do for the estate. All of these expenses will be deducted from the assets of the estate before they are distributed to the beneficiaries.
Handle the estate’s taxes
What does an executor of a will do with the taxes that are tied to the estate? Well, one of the things an executor of a will is responsible for is paying any taxes that are due on the estate. If the deceased person owned stocks or bonds, they may have paid taxes on them each year. Those taxes may have been paid with after-tax money. If the deceased person left those stocks or bonds to you in their will, those assets are now part of the estate. Those taxes will be paid with the after-tax money in the estate. If you do not have enough money in the estate to pay those taxes, you should contact the deceased person’s broker or transfer agent to discuss payment arrangements.
You also need to contact the IRS and any other federal or state taxing authority to discuss payment arrangements. You may also have to sell some of the stocks or bonds in the estate. You can sell them through a broker or transfer agent. If you sell them through a broker, you will owe the taxes and you will have to pay the money to the IRS or state taxing authority.
Visit, research, and inventory assets
A few of the things an executor of a will is responsible for is to visit the assets in the estate, research their value and inventory them. If there is real estate in the estate, you may need to visit the property to be sure it is in good condition. You may also have to hire a company to do an environmental analysis of the property. You may need to visit a business that is part of the estate and hire an accountant or tax attorney to assist you with any questions you have about the estate tax ramifications of the business. You may also need to hire an appraiser to help you determine the value of any assets that are not easily quantifiable such as copyrights and trademarks.
Notify beneficiaries of their inheritance
An executor of a will is responsible for notifying the beneficiaries named in the will that they will be receiving assets from the estate. You can do this by written notice or by contacting the beneficiaries personally. You may choose to do the latter so you can get any questions the beneficiaries may have answered.
Sell any asset that is not specifically bequeathed
One of the things an executor of a will is responsible for is selling any asset in the estate that is not specifically bequeathed. You may want to hold an auction for real estate that is bequeathed. You may also want to advertise any other asset for sale. If the asset is not sold, you may want to donate it to a charity.
Being the executor of a will is no easy task, as there is a lot of responsibility in that role. You have to be able to take care of all the legal matters that are involved with an estate and you have to do it without any compensation. You will have to spend a lot of your time taking care of the legal matters related to the estate, and you may have to spend money on things like hiring an appraiser to help value assets. If you are asked to be the executor of someone’s will, you should consider whether you are able to handle the responsibility. If you are, then you should accept the responsibility.
We Can Help
To ensure that your assets go to the right place, contact Lewman Law for a consultation for a simple will, trust, or other estate planning vehicle. If you’ve been named the executor of an estate and need legal assistance, you can also request a consultation.