As executor of will you’ll likely be tasked with following through on the deceased’s wishes. That can be difficult, especially if family members are unhappy with how the estate was handled. This can lead to fights over everything from sentimental items like Grandma’s candy dish to money and real estate. Even if the will writer specifies who gets what, there may be disputes — or just disagreements on the amount or the timing of payments.
If you agree to serve, start gathering information as soon as possible. That includes the original will, a list of assets and where they are located (bank accounts, investment documents, insurance policy information and physical stuff). It’s customary to open a bank account for estate business and keep a record of all transactions.
The Role of an Executor in a Will: Duties, Responsibilities, and Legal Obligations
It’s also your responsibility to have the will probated, collect assets that pass under the Will and pay administration expenses, debts of the estate and taxes. This might include paying off a mortgage or car loan, notifying creditors of the death and, in some cases, making regular payments to a beneficiary for living expenses until the estate is finished being administered.
If the will writer was a business owner, you’ll need to get a professional valuation of any company shares or intellectual property. That will likely require a lawyer. If you’re unsure of what to do, talk with the estate planning attorney who drafted the will. He or she can explain the terms of the Will and help you choose the best legal team to handle the estate.