Affordable. Accessible. Experienced.

What is the estate executor’s job?

On Behalf of | Apr 24, 2024 | Probate & Estate Administration |

When going through probate after someone has passed away, there will be an estate executor. This person has been identified in the estate plan, and their job is to help the process play out. The estate plan itself provides instructions. The estate executor follows those instructions and ensures that the deceased person’s wishes are respected.

What exactly does this mean they have to do? That depends on the specific case, but below are a few common duties that the estate executor will have.

Inventory and assets

For one thing, the estate plan can list any assets that the person thought to include, but there’s no guarantee that those assets are still within that person’s estate. Some assets may have been lost or sold over the years, especially if the estate plan wasn’t updated. The executor makes an inventory to determine what still exists.

Settling accounts

The estate executor then can use these assets to settle specific accounts. For instance, maybe they have to pay taxes or take care of real estate debts. Maybe they need to pay off credit cards or make final payments to utility companies. Many people pass away with minor debts remaining.

Distributing assets

After settling these obligations, the executor distributes a copy of the estate plan and then distributes the assets that the individuals named in the plan are supposed to receive. Ideally, these individuals will get the exact assets that are specified in the plan. But if some of those assets are missing or have to be used to pay off debts, people can inherit less than they expect.

The probate process can certainly be complicated, and estate executors and beneficiaries must be aware of the proper legal steps to take.