Perhaps the most important duty an executor has is to inventory and protect the assets a person owned upon his or her death. This helps to ensure that beneficiaries get what was promised to them in the testator’s will. If there is no will, an accurate inventory can make it easier for a judge to determine how to distribute a deceased person’s estate.
The executor will collect and assess claims against the estate
It’s not uncommon for creditors, family members and others to make claims against an estate. The executor is required to evaluate those claims to determine if they are valid. If a claim is valid, it must be resolved in a timely manner. However, if there is any reason to doubt that this is the case, a hearing may need to be held.
An executor will distribute assets
The person who is appointed to oversee estate administration tasks will be the one who is responsible for distributing assets to beneficiaries. It’s important to note that this cannot happen until after a judge gives the green light. In most cases, you will need to present a final accounting to the court before beneficiaries can receive a home, car or other property that a deceased person wanted to hand down to them.
If you are appointed to be an estate executor, it is important that you take the role seriously. As a general rule, you have a fiduciary responsibility to the estate and its beneficiaries. Failing to live up to that duty may result in civil penalties.