Who is an Executor and What are Their Duties?

Are you considering creating an Estate Plan soon? If so, one of the most critical roles you should fill lies in choosing an executor.

An executor is a person that will take care of your affairs and estate plan following your death. They are ultimately responsible for collecting data and information pertaining to your estate and making sure that final debts are paid. This is an incredibly important person and they should be chosen carefully. Not only will they have to make critical decisions, but some of the tax responsibilities call for a person that has a high degree of intellect and organizational skills. This person will also work closely with your estate lawyer in Cary NC, as well.

Our estate planning attorney in Raleigh, NC is here to discuss executors and their duties when it comes to your estate. Upon your death, an executor is who will distribute your assets, pay debts, taxes, and other bills, as well as close your estate. Today we'll discuss 7 key executor duties that they must perform.

EXECUTOR DUTIES | ESTATE PLANNING ATTORNEY IN CARY NC

1. Collect All Assets and Pay All Debts

The executor must collect all assets, pay all debts, and distribute any remaining assets to the beneficiaries. The executor may also be required to file annual accountings depending on the length of the estate.

2. Distribute assets to all beneficiaries

When debts have been settled, the executor must distribute the assets to all beneficiaries according to the instructions of the deceased’s will. Paying heirs directly or funding a trust for minors might be included in this step, depending on the will and state law.

3. Calculate and Pay Any Estate Taxes

The executor often will hire an estate attorney to help calculate any estate taxes that might be due, so that the appropriate tax return can be filed and then paid.

4. File Final Income Tax Returns
The executor is accountable for filing a final income tax return for the deceased. This final income tax deals with the deceased’s last year. Depending on the estate’s size, the executor may have to choose the appropriate type of bank account to place the estate’s funds.

If the bank account is interest-bearing, then it may be necessary for the estate to file its own tax return.

5. Provide Certain Documents to the Clerk

When it’s time to close the estate, the executor must provide certain documents to the clerk. Among others, the clerk must approve all final accounting notes. The final accounting shows proceeds, disbursements, and distributions (discussed below). It is only after approving a final accounting will a Clerk allows an estate to be closed.

6. Collect data and information for the following:

Bank accounts, brokerage accounts, retirement accounts, property, collections,  antiques, and other valuables must be charted and presented to the probate court for review. Though the tasks can be time-consuming and tedious, it’s important that the recording of assets be accurate and complete so that the heirs receive their inheritance in a reasonable amount of time.

7. Pay the Deceased's Bills

It is the executor’s duty to use estate assets to pay the deceased’s bills. Conversely, it is the executor’s duty to go after any money owed to the deceased. Paying bills is necessary to protect the estate, the executor, and the beneficiaries. Collecting money is important to provide the most assets for the beneficiaries.

In the event that the deceased owned a business, the executor may also have to sell or wind up and wind down the business. Any money gained from this may benefit the estate and the beneficiaries.

ELDRETH LAW FIRM | ESTATE PLANNING ATTORNEY IN CARY NC

If you don’t have an estate plan in place or haven’t reviewed yours in several years, now might be the best time to start. Our estate planning attorney in Raleigh NC is here to help you get your estate planning in order and ready should you pass in an untimely manner or become incapacitated at some point. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to an estate plan. Contact our lawyer to get started estate planning, today.

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