One part of an estate plan that a testator should plan is who will be the executor of the estate. The executor is an important role used to help administer the estate during the probate process.
Many people don’t understand what the duties of an executor entail. It may help if testators and executors discuss what is required of this role. Here’s what you should know:
Finding and submitting the will to probate court
The most important part of being an executor is locating the will to start the probate process. The testator and executor may need to discuss early where and how to find the will in preparation for the testator’s passing. Once located, a valid will can be submitted to probate court and the executor can continue about their duties.
If a valid will can’t be found, then the executor may find a copy at the county clerk’s office. However, the testator could be seen as dying intestate if a will is still unable to be found. Intestate means the state is responsible for the distribution of the deceased’s estate.
Collecting death certificates and contacting interested parties
Another duty of the executor is collecting multiple copies of the deceased’s death certificates. These documents can be used to notify banks, creditors and life insurers. The executor can also use these death certificates to collect insurance proceeds, veteran’s benefits and Social Security survivor’s benefits. Death certificates are often found at local state and county vital records offices.
Itemizing, protecting and distributing assets to beneficiaries
The intent of a will is often to name family and friends who are set to benefit from the estate. The executor is responsible for locating assets and contacting beneficiaries. A testator may need to provide the executor with detailed information about certain assets, such as property investments and jewelry.
The position of executor is important but not easy. Testators may want to consider recommending legal help to their executors so that the probate process goes smoothly.