Being named the executor of an estate is a big responsibility that involves representing a person’s estate as whole in the legal proceedings. However, this title comes with many other requirements that must be handled in a detailed and timely way.
This article will answer the question of what does the executor of an estate do and outline some of the main estate executor responsibilities. It will also describe the role of a NYC estate lawyer and where to turn for your estate planning needs.
File the Will in Local Probate Court
It is typically required by law to file any will that the deceased had in local probate court, regardless of whether probate proceedings are necessary or not. This is also when the executor, with the help of his or her estate planning lawyer in Brooklyn, may determine who inherits the deceased’s property. Probate court proceedings may be necessary if the deceased person’s estate is very large or if there is no surviving person who jointly owned assets with the deceased.
Set Up a Bank Account to Track Funds
Some decedents are owned money in the form of recurring paychecks, and so the executor must set up a bank account to receive these funds. This account should also be used to pay recurring bills that are received during the probate process, such as bills for a mortgage or utilities.
Close Out and Handle Other Accounts
There are lots of other details that an estate executor must consider once a person passes away. These include closing credit card accounts, terminating leases, and providing a death notification to banks and relevant government agencies that the decedent received support from. This is why it is helpful for everyone to keep a detailed list of accounts with their estate planning documents to make this process easier on estate executors.
Manage Property Until It’s Sold or Purchased
Another of the estate executor responsibilities is to manage the deceased’s property until it can be sold or distributed to heirs. However, this may include making a decision whether it’s even necessary to sell pieces of the decedent’s property. Executors should obtain any safety deposit boxes that the decent had and keep them safe throughout this process as well.
Settle Any Debts Associated with the Estate
If the decedent owed any money for taxes or to debt collectors before his or her death, then the estate executor is responsible for these obligations. This responsibility involves notifying creditors and filing income tax returns from the first date of the year through the decedent’s death date. There may be additional taxes to pay at this time to the state and/or federal governments for large estates.
Distribute the Deceased’s Assets
One of the most important estate executor responsibilities is distributing the assets of the deceased, but before this, the executor will need to locate those assets and manage them until the distribution. Assets should be distributed according to the decedent’s will, but if there is no will, they will be distributed according to New York state law.
While there are quite a few responsibilities involved with being an estate executor, estate planning does not have to be a complicated process. In fact, some of our clients are able to set up an estate plan in just two meetings.
Theodore Alatsas, Esq. is an estate planning attorney in NYC who knows the relevant laws and processes to help you fulfill your role as an executor or establish an executor for your own estate plan. We are conveniently located right here in Brooklyn, so call us at 718-233-2903 to arrange your consultation or contact the firm online.