Monday, September 3, 2012

The Will's Executor - Carrying Responsibility

If you have been named as an executor of a will, you may be wondering what your responsibilities are. An executor is typically named as such in the will or in another legal document, and is the person responsible for overseeing that the last wishes of the deceased are carried out. This is not an easy task, and it also includes making sure that all of the assets are disposed of properly, paying off the taxes out of the assets, visiting with family and friends who are named as inheritors, and generally taking care of all of the little details that a death necessitates.

If you were named as the wills executor, then this means that the deceased trusted your integrity enough to put the responsibility of their asset's dispersal in your hands. It is a heavy burden at times, but is also an honor. You may need to visit with an attorney to make sure that you follow the legal protocol properly, as things can be very confusing, particularly if there are many beneficiaries or if it was a large estate. You may also need to be prepared to meet with opposition from the inheritors as well, and so you may need additional legal advice.

Often, the will's executor will be responsible for sending the will to probate, which is where the courts will look over the documentation and decide upon the dispersal of property. The executor must stay abreast of the probate, and may have to oversee the sale of property, pay real estate taxes, death taxes or any outstanding debt out of the deceased person's assets. Usually, these taxes will be paused until the assets have been sold and liquidated, and at that time, the debts and taxes are taken out of that sum. Only then can any money be transferred to inheritors.

If there is no will, but an executor has been named, this may make the job much more difficult, as the executor now has to try to guess what the deceased would have wanted. In addition, without a will, the executor has far fewer legal rights and may have more of a burden on their hands when it is time to disperse the assets and property. Even under the best of circumstances, the executor will have quite a task on their hands, but a will can make things much easier for everyone involved. Don't take chances - make a will.

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