Tips for Executors
An executor is the person designated to be responsible for the administration of a person’s estate. As an executor, you are required to act in a fiduciary capacity and carry out the decedent’s wishes as stated in their will. To start, the executor will need to take the will to the Register of Wills to open the estate and be formally recognized as the party authorized to handle the estate. From there, the executor will need to identify all the assets and debts the decedent had at the time of death. An inventory will need to be filed with the court. It is really useful to have a list of institutions where assets are held as well as user names and passwords now that so much business is conducted electronically as opposed to on paper.
The executor should also notify social security, employer(s), banks, insurance companies, retirement plans, post office, etc. regarding the death of the decedent. The executor is responsible for safekeeping and/or maintenance of the estate until the time of distribution. The executor should review the will to identify all possible beneficiaries as they will need to be notified. The executor will usually need to open an estate bank account to consolidate assets and be able to pay necessary bills and taxes. The last income tax return for the decedent needs to be filed as well as an inheritance tax return. The executor must keep detailed records of all transactions that occur as an accounting is usually part of the final process of distributing and closing the estate. Executors may receive financial compensation for their services. An executor may also elect to retain an attorney to ensure the proper administration of the state in lieu of undertaking the responsibility on their own.