The executor of a will is someone who is left in charge to carry out the terms and conditions of the testator's, or creator's, last will and testament. Most of the time the executor is a trusted family member or friend, but at times a lawyer may carry out the individual's last wishes as implicated in the will. An executor of a will should have some knowledge of probate laws and compliance of legal procedures.
Duties to the Testator
Because the executor is a trusted individual of the testator, she must have the best interest of will's creator's estate at heart. This means she protects all assets of the deceased to the best of her ability. The executor locates all assets the deceased person owned. It is her duty to not disperse any assets to named beneficiaries until the probate process--a court-supervised process sorting out the transfer of the deceased personal property--is finished.
As the probation period can last for several months, the executor must keep up with certain records during this time. He keeps track of all income and outgoing expenses during this time. He might have to gather multiple certified copies of the death certificate to start the process of transferring titles. If the deceased person had possession of a safety deposit box, the executor tracks all inventory in said box. The executor goes back as far as three years in the deceased tax records for federal and state income tax information if applicable and records any information in case of a tax audit.
If the deceased leaves behind any unpaid bills, the executor procures a special checking account in the name of the estate and pays all unpaid bills. She has authority over all bank accounts of the deceased to issue correct assets to beneficiaries if applicable. Any firms or establishments the deceased had financial dealings with are contacted by the executor.
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