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  • Nicole J. Zuvich

The estate executor has a big job to do

Updated: Sep 27

When you write your will, one of the decisions you need to make is who to name as your estate’s executor. Although you may see this as a minor decision, you must realize that the role is an important one.

The job of the executor is to manage the estate after your death. Once you understand all of the tasks this entails, this may help you choose the right person.

Role of the executor

According to AARP, the main role of the executor is to distribute assets and pay off all debts of the estate. Depending on the complexity of the estate, this can be a fairly simple process, or it may take years to complete.

After the reading of the will, the executor must inform all beneficiaries and put out a notice to all potential creditors. The executor must locate all named assets, have them valued and keep them someplace where they will be safe. The executor must also ensure all pets find a new home and maintain all properties, including going through mail, paying the mortgage and other necessary bills, keeping the lawn mowed and making any needed repairs.

Once there is the identification of all creditors, the executor must pay off the estate’s debt. If there is not enough cash, there must be a selling of some assets to cover the debts. Next, the executor distributes the assets. The final step is to file and pay the taxes of the estate.

Traits of a successful executor

According to CNBC, the person you choose for this role should be trustworthy, organized and detail-oriented. This person should have the time to perform all the necessary tasks, and it helps if he or she lives close to the estate. This person should also have a calm demeanor, because there may be conflicts among family members about the will.

Although it helps if the person has a financial or accounting background, this is not necessary. The executor can hire professionals, paid for by the estate, to help with some of the tasks.

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