What Does It Mean to Be an Executor?

What Does It Mean to Be an Executor?

Being named an executor can be a big deal, undertaking confidence and trust that someone is appointing you to manage their estate after they’ve died. An executor has a long to-do list, according to The Cleveland Jewish News’ recent article entitled “Role of executor comes with many responsibilities.”

First, the executor must find the signed will and file it at the probate court to officially be appointed.  Next, the executor must collect all of the estate’s assets, as well as track down any debts like mortgages, credit card bills, car payments and the like.  Once the bills are paid, the executor will distribute the assets to the beneficiaries.  Finally, the executor is tasked with going to the probate court and state that the bills were paid, so all of the assets can be distributed. At that point, the executor is discharged.

Any adult can be named an executor as an executor of an estate. However, in some circumstances, a bond is required. The bonding company will decide if the executor is financially sound. If a person dies without a will, an individual can apply to be an administrator of the estate.  When naming an executor, before death, the estate owners should discuss the role and responsibilities of their named executor to have a smooth transition with no surprises for those left behind.  In addition, an alternate executor should be named in the event the first person is unwilling or unable to serve.

Executors should consult an estate planning attorney throughout the process. This legal assistance is important to guide the executor through all the required steps, so he or she can fulfill the fiduciary responsibilities.

An experienced estate planning attorney can help review the will with the executor, so he or she understands what it means. The attorney can also review the steps of being appointed and what their role of the executor is as far as collecting the assets and debts, along with the details about which the average non-attorney might not consider.

Reference: Cleveland Jewish News (Sep. 23, 2020) “Role of executor comes with many responsibilities”