Whether you have recently lost a close friend or family member or you are currently creating an estate plan, you may need an estate executor. Also referred to as an estate administrator, the executor of the estate plays a vital role in finalizing matters after one passes away. You can either name an executor in your last will and testament or one will be appointed for you by the state. In order to choose an administrator that will be up for the job, it is important to understand the role and responsibilities of an executor.

Once a loved one passes, the executor will receive vital documents, including the death certificate and last will and testament. He or she must submit the last will and testament to the probate court to see if the estate must go through the probate process. Not all cases are sent to probate, which is a process designed to distribute property to the rightful beneficiaries. If the will does go to probate, the executor will be the one to oversee it through the process.

The estate administrator must also complete the following:

  • Gather all estate property and assets and have them valued
  • Pay any existing debts using the value of the estate
  • Protect the property and assets from theft or vandalism

The remaining property is then distributed to the beneficiaries named in the will. The administrator must track down the heirs and ensure they receive the property left to them. An executor should be patient, organized, trustworthy and have the time to dedicate to this somewhat arduous task.

This information is intended to educate and should not be taken as legal advice.