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What is an Executor?

man serving as executor

When a loved one passes away, you may feel overwhelming emotions like anger and grief. However, those feelings are only made more intense when you discover you’ve been named the executor of their will. This can be a confusing and stressful process if you don’t know what to expect. If you’ve been named an executor, you’ll want to keep reading to learn more about the role and how a Putnam County wills attorney can help you navigate the process.

What Are the Responsibilities of an Executor?

The role an executor plays in the estate planning process is crucial. They are the entity responsible for overseeing the distribution of the deceased’s assets and ensuring their final wishes are met.

It is an honor and a great responsibility to assume to role of an executor. However, it can be stressful, as they are responsible for tying up all loose ends for the deceased individual. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Manage the deceased’s assets until they are distributed
  • Notifying different agencies of the person’s passing, such as the Social Security Administration and post office
  • Paying their debts and taxes
  • Filing the will
  • Paying continuing expenses via estate funds

As you can see, this role requires a lot of responsibility. You are free to decline to fulfill the position, even if it’s written in the will. However, if there is no alternative person named, the court will appoint someone to oversee the distribution of the estate.

Many people do choose to serve, as they want to help honor the deceased’s wishes. They also do receive compensation based on the value of the estate. However, many loved ones who serve choose to offer their services for free and do not charge the estate.

Are There Any Restrictions on Who Can Assume the Role?

Generally, anyone can fulfill the role of an estate executor. Typically, the only rules surrounding who can be named are that the executor must be over 18 (or 21 in some states) and cannot be a convicted felon.

However, some states do have restrictions. For example, New York dictates that an executor who is both a non-citizen and a non-resident of the state must have a court-approved resident coexecutor to help them serve.

Can a Lawyer Help an Executor?

If you want to assume the role of an executor but are unsure what the process includes, you may be hesitant to accept. However, you can enlist the help of an attorney.

For example, you can retain a lawyer to help explain the process, answer questions, and guide you through distribution. Similarly, they can help handle the probate process entirely, which can help ease the stress associated with the role.

If you’ve been appointed an executor and need assistance ensuring your loved one’s wishes are met, the Law Office of Andres D. Gil, PLLC can help. We’re ready to answer any questions or concerns you have about wills and testaments. Reach out today to schedule a consultation.

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