What is an Executor's Job?

Julia M. Carlson |


What is an Executor’s job?

An executor is responsible for sorting out your finances after your death; generally arranging for the payment of debts and expenses and distributing what remains to the heirs. The executor you name in your Will should be someone you trust explicitly and have confidence in their ability to act ethically. Once you’ve selected your executor, go over your Will and any supporting documents with them so they know your wishes. This will leave as little as possible to chance and spare your executor from having to interpret, or outright guess what your intentions are and that they will faithfully carry them out.

Beneficiaries often don’t understand the executor role and can grow impatient while enduring what could be a year-long process (or longer). Leave a list of accounts, passwords, investment documents, etc. for your executor so they’ll have a detailed understanding of your estate. Since it is likely you’ll miss something or forget to keep the list updated, you’ll want your executor to be someone who’s not afraid to dig in, ask questions and not give up.

Absent a trust, your estate will be settled in your county’s probate court and your executor will be involved in that process. Living locally makes it easier for your executor to keep an eye on your home and its contents while the estate is settled.

In short, it’s a big job. While many people appoint a spouse or child without giving it much thought, it makes sense to carefully consider who’s best suited for it. Select someone who can be as neutral as possible and smooth tensions among beneficiaries before they grow into arguments. Also, the more work you do to prepare your estate, the easier it will be for everyone involved.

Information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation.

Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

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