Estate Planning: The Executor's Duties

The executor duties are spelled out in the will, but there are some implied duties that you should be aware of as well. A checklist of duties can help you manage the property in an orderly manner. The first thing you should do is admit the probate to the court. The probate court has to officially recognize you as the executor so that you can dispose of the assets. A judge will sign a letter so that you can submit it to financial institutions and others to gain access to the decedent's accounts and assets.

Inventory the Assets

One of the most important part of the executor duties is to take inventory of all assets. The probate court may require it and it is a good practice because you will need details when you distribute assets to heirs and beneficiaries.

Pay Taxes and Debts

The probate proceedings will not be finalized until you pay all taxes owed. You have to pay estate and probate taxes, but state laws may require only one or the other. Creditors may also have probate claims.

Transfer Assets

Once the taxes and debts are paid, you have to distribute the remaining assets according to the will. You have to do so in a way that doesn't violate state inheritance laws. Some probate courts require you to post a bond if it is not waived in the will. It's important to know the financial and legal responsibilities of the executor duties.

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