What does an executor do during probate?

On Behalf of | Jan 18, 2022 | Estate Planning FAQ

Opening an estate in a Pennsylvania probate court might be necessary when someone passes away. Even if the person had few assets, probate could provide legal personal representation powers in estate matters. That representative becomes known as the executor of the estate if named under the decedent’s will, or the administrator if appointed by the court. The executor gains the authority to handle various tasks.

The role of an executor

Most people associated a last will and testament with the distribution of assets. An executor handles these tasks and makes reports available to the probate court. A competent executor will perform all assets distributions timely, but other responsibilities are necessary before distributing anything to beneficiaries.

Federal estate tax filings will be necessary. Filing the returns and paying any balances due becomes an executor’s top task.

The executor must also settle the estate’s debts with creditors. Money for the various bills comes from the estate’s assets, with the remaining funds and assets going to stated beneficiaries.

Other executor duties

Estate administration could involve opening an estate bank account and dealing with utility companies, landlords, and other duties. Without the letters of testamentary documents proving someone is an official representative, many entities won’t discuss the deceased’s account. Such documentation comes from the court when the executor and attorney open the estate.

A testator names a preferred executor in a will. If there’s no will, the probate court would likely select someone. Those wanting the right person to manage the estate need to name their choice in the will.

Incompetent executors may be replaced if beneficiaries challenge the person’s performance. Choosing the best person for the job could prevent such troubling issues from arising.

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