When a person dies with a will in place, an executor is named as the responsible individual for winding down the decedent’s affairs. In situations in which a will has not been prepared, the probate court will appoint an administrator. Whether you have been named as an executor or appearing as the administrator, the role comes with certain responsibilities including taking charge of the decedent’s assets, notifying beneficiaries and creditors, paying the estate’s debts and distributing the property to the beneficiaries.
In some cases, an executor may also be a beneficiary of the will or as administrator may be an heir of the decedent, however he or she must act fairly.
An executor/administrator is specifically responsible for:
Finding a copy of the will and filing it with the appropriate state court or opening the estate of someone without a will.
Informing third parties, such as banks and other account holders, of the person’s death
Locating assets and identifying debts
Providing the court with an inventory of these assets and debts
Maintaining any assets until they are disposed of
Disposing of assets either through distribution or sale
Satisfying any debts
Appearing in court on behalf of the estate
In the role of succession representative, the executor/administrator can pay all of the decedent’s outstanding debts and distribute the property to the beneficiaries according to the terms of the will or the heirs. They are also is also responsible for filing all federal and state tax returns for the deceased person as well as estate taxes, if any. Lastly, an executor or administrator is entitled to compensation for the time he or she served the estate.
In the end, being named an executor or appointed as an administrator ultimately means supporting the overall goal of distributing the estate assets according to wishes of the deceased or state law. In either case, an experienced probate or estate planning attorney can help you carry out these duties.
A New Orleans Estate Planning Attorney