The Responsibilities of an Executor

Accepting the job as an executor of an estate is a big decision. You are entrusted to handle someone’s money, property, and personal belongings—a task that may require a lot of time. While the law doesn’t require that you have a legal or financial background, it does require that you be honest and act in good faith for the person who wrote the will or trust.

Before making the decision to become an executor, it’s important to understand some of the tasks you would perform in this position.

What Is Really Involved in This Job?

Depending on the complexity of the estate left by the deceased person, executors can have many responsibilities. Knowing what’s involved in the job can help you decide if you should accept the appointment or not. Some of the major duties of an executor include:

  • Locating all of the estate assets and making sure they are protected. This means maintaining insurance, as appropriate, and protecting assets from physical or financial harm. For example, it includes paying taxes, paying expenses like mortgages and utility bills, and paying for regular maintenance work.
  • Paying estate taxes.
  • Locating beneficiaries and notifying them of estate proceedings as required by law.
  • Supervising how assets are distributed and communicating with the court as necessary.
  • Complying with all California and federal laws in the administration of the estate.

Depending on the estate, these tasks can be time-consuming, stressful, and difficult. So, it is important that you think through the pros and cons of being an executor before you commit to do the job.

If you accept the position of executor and are unsure about what to do, you can enlist the help of others. Even though you’re responsible for the estate, you have the right to talk to insurance brokers, accountants, attorneys, and other professionals who can help you comply with the legal requirements of estate administration. By consulting with a lawyer, for example, you could prevent significant, expensive, and time-consuming legal problems. A lawyer can help you make informed decisions that benefit the estate.

Your decision about whether or not to become an executor may be far off in the future, but we can provide you with clear and accurate information before that time comes. To learn more, please watch our free videos, and read our free related links, so you can make an informed decision that is right for you.