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An executor’s duties and responsibilities

On Behalf of | Apr 7, 2023 | Estate Planning |

During the probate process in a New York courtroom, the judge will have to approve the executor who serves as the personal representative of the estate. Typically, the testator names an executor in their will. The executor must carry out several tasks on behalf of the estate.

An executor’s duties

Two primary duties an executor performs involve paying the estate’s debts and distributing assets to the beneficiaries. Commonly, the executor must pay debts from the estate’s accounts before doing the latter task. When distributing assets, the executor must adhere to the testator’s wishes.

Executors must also file federal and state tax returns. Even if the estate does not owe taxes, the executor would need to file personal tax returns for the decedent. Additionally, the executor must inform financial institutions, utility companies, landlords and others that the testator has passed away. The court will provide an executor with a document proving the executor is the estate’s representative, allowing the executor to handle various duties.

Choosing an executor

A testator should choose the most competent and trustworthy person possible for the position. An unqualified or dishonest executor could cause many problems during the estate administration process. In some situations, beneficiaries may take legal action to remove an executor who cannot handle the job.

Someone named as the executor in a will could refuse the duty. If the will names another person who may serve as the executor, if the primary choice declines or is incapable of doing the job, that person could assume the responsibilities. When no one else is named, the court will appoint a representative.