Part of having a comprehensive estate plan is naming someone to handle the estate after you pass away. This person should be someone you trust who can think clearly despite the emotions that will be present.
Your estate executor has many duties. Ultimately, their primary duty is to act in the best interests of the estate.
Duties start right away
The executor of the estate will need to start handling their duties right away when you pass away. Some of the duties they’ll have include:
- File the will with the probate court
- Locate the assets of the estate
- Secure the assets, including the home
- Locate the heirs and beneficiaries
- Pay estate bills, including mortgage, insurance, utilities
- Make notification for creditors
- Handle creditor claims
- File final income tax documents
- Distribute assets
- Notify life insurance company and other necessary agencies
Because the executor must act in the best interests of the estate, they can’t sell assets for less than the fair market value. They also must make every decision based on what’s dictated in the estate plan. The only way that they can go against the estate plan is if they go to court and receive the court’s approval.
If you’re receiving benefits from the Social Security Administration or other government agencies, the executor also needs to notify them of your death. If you had a job at the time of your death, they need to ensure that the employer pays all income, including payable vacation time.
Taking an estate through the probate process can be complex, so you should ensure that you name an executor who can handle these duties. Making sure that you have everything in order can make this easier for them.