When someone asks you to be the executor of their estate, you may want to say yes immediately. However, this position involves a significant amount of responsibility. Before you commit to serving as the executor, it is important to understand the duties you would perform.
As the executor of the estate, it is usually your job to take the will to a probate court so officials can register this document. SmartAsset.com says this is an important step because the court has to recognize your position as the executor before you can perform any of your other duties. Once you have court-recognized authority, you can speak to the beneficiaries of the estate. Depending on how well you know the beneficiaries, you might speak to them in person or send them a letter.
The executor of the estate usually handles financial matters. You typically have to pay the income taxes of the deceased. You may also have to pay the estate taxes if the estate is especially large. Additionally, it is your task to pay off the debts of the estate. These debts might include credit card debt or personal loans. You typically have to contact these creditors to inform them of the death. You may wonder where the money to pay these taxes and debts will come from. This money generally comes from the estate. If the deceased had a job, he or she might receive a paycheck after death. You can use this money, along with other assets, to pay the debts and taxes.
Additionally, it is your job to distribute the assets to the beneficiaries. You generally have to identify all of the assets and collect them so you can hand them out to the beneficiaries. If you are the executor of a small estate, this process is usually straightforward. However, it may become more complicated if the estate is large.