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What does an estate executor do during probate?

On Behalf of | Feb 17, 2022 | Probate

The estate executor has an important role during the probate process. The first step of probate is simply to authenticate the will, and then the executor will be named. Many times, people include that they simply want a family member to be the estate executor, but not always.

Once this executor has been named, he or she has some very critical jobs that must be carried out. These tasks are fundamental to the execution of the person’s final will and testament. Some of the jobs that they may have to do include the following.

Taking inventory of the assets

While the person may have listed out their assets in the will, the executor has to take inventory and gather those assets. They’re in charge of making sure the assets actually still exist, that the will is up-to-date and that other family members have not simply decided to take what they wish from the family home. The number of assets varies widely from case to case.

Distributing those assets

Next, the executor is in charge of consulting the will and then distributing the assets in accordance with that will. Some wills are basic and just tell the executor to divide things up evenly. Other wills are much more complex and say exactly which assets are supposed to go to which individuals. It’s important that the executor has taken a proper inventory so that they can also distribute them correctly.

Handling bills and taxes

The executor also has to go through and pay back taxes, pay final bills, close down accounts and do many other financial tasks. In some cases, this may mean selling certain assets, such as the home, in order to divide them. In other cases, it may just mean keeping current on taxes and bills so that the estate legally owns the home and the heirs can determine what they want to do for themselves.

The complexity of the executor’s job can be very different from case to case, but it is always an important part of probate. It’s very critical that all involved understand what legal obligations and rights they have.