Executor of a Will

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What is an Executor? 

If someone dies with a will, the will should appoint an executor. The executor is the personal representative of the person who died. Since the person who wrote the will has passed, she can no longer manage her assets and debts. What this means is that the executor is in charge of:

  • Handling that person’s affairs
  • Administering the estate
  • Resolving creditor claims, and
  • Distributing the person’s assets to the beneficiaries named in the will.

The executor is nominated by a will, but is officially appointed by the Court. In most circumstances, the executor must obtain Letters Testamentary from the probate court in order to perform most acts. This executor gains these letters through filing a petition with the probate court to be officially appointed.

Gather the Assets of the Deceased and Make an Inventory

Duties of the Executor of an Estate

The executor has numerous duties and responsibilities while serving in this role. Below is a general outline of the things the executor must do to administer the estate. The executor should discover and identify what assets the decedent had at her death, how they are titled, and make sure they are secure.

Who Should You Name as Executor of Your Will?

Most people typically name a close family member or friend to serve as executor. A close family member of the deceased generally is more familiar with the assets of the decedent and knows her wishes. This choice is best for most individuals. However, sometimes naming a family member as executor can create resentment among other family members who may not have the best relationship with that person. For example, if you are in a second marriage and name your spouse as executor over your estate to the exclusion of your son or daughter from prior relationship, that situation may cause resentment. Of course, you could always name co-executors, but generally we advise you only name co-executors if you are confident that the co-executors will have a good working relationship. Otherwise, a neutral executor such as a bank, trust company, or a lawyer may be the best option. Be aware that if you do name a bank or lawyer, they will likely charge a fee for their services. Consequently, you should carefully consider who you want to be your executor, especially if there is a possibility of conflict in the family.

Reach Out To Estate Attorney John Crow For Help

If you were recently appointed as the executor of a will it is likely you have many questions about how to handle probate. We are here to help. We understand that the estate administration process can be difficult and confusing. We can help make sense of it. Give estate attorney John Crow a call today at his Clarksville or Hopkinsville office for assistance with your duties as executor.

[1] There are exceptions to this rule. For example, your medical power of estate planning attorney has the authority to order an autopsy or determine your tombstone heading, absent any other instruction.

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