What is the Executor?
The Executor is the person appointed by the deceased person’s last will and testament or a personal representative to administer their estate. They are responsible for ensuring that the deceased’s debts and taxes are paid, and that their assets are distributed to their beneficiaries, family members, or heirs according to the terms of the Will.
In Washington, the executor must also file a probate petition with the court, and may be required to post a bond. If you are named as an Executor in a Will, you should talk to a lawyer to make sure you do your job correctly.
What Are the Executor’s Duties?
1. Locate the estate’s assets and take charge of them until the inheritance is given to the beneficiaries.
One of the executor’s duties is to locate the deceased person’s assets and take charge of them until the heir, family member or surviving spouse pays them off. This may involve selling the deceased person’s real estate or stocks.
The executor must also keep records of all estate assets and liabilities, pay any debts and taxes, and resolve any disputes that arise. After the estate assets have been given out, the executor must give the probate court a final report.
2. Decide whether or not you need to file a case in probate court.
If you are named as the executor in a will, or if you are the closest relative of someone who died without a will, you might need to go to probate court. Probate is the legal process by which a deceased person’s assets are given to his or her heirs.
The probate process can be simple or complicated, depending on the size and complexity of the estate. If the estate is small and there is no dispute among the heirs, probate might not be necessary. In that case, the executor can simply transfer the assets to the heirs without involving the probate court. But probate matters might be needed if the estate is big or if the heirs don’t agree on what to do with it.
Consequently, the executor’s duties would include going to probate court and proving that the will is valid. Once the will is proven to be true, it is the executor’s job to give out the assets according to what the will says.
Even though probate matters can take a long time and be hard to understand, it is often necessary to make sure that the assets of a deceased person are distributed according to their wishes.
3.Determine who will receive the property.
One of the most important duties of an executor is to determine who will receive the property of the deceased individual, also known as the decedent. The executor will consult the deceased person’s will, if one is present, to decide who will inherit what.
However, if there is no will, the person in charge (also known as the administrator) will have to consult state law, specifically the “intestate succession” statutes, to determine who the deceased individual’s heirs are. This can be a difficult and sensitive task, but it is important to do it correctly to ensure that the deceased person’s wishes are carried out and that their property ends up in the hands of those who intended to receive it.
4. If there is a will, file it with the local probate court.
One of the tasks that an executor must undertake is filing the will with the local probate court. Even if there is no need for a probate proceeding, this step is required by law in most jurisdictions.
The will must be filed as soon as possible after the death of the testator, and the executor may be required to provide notice to interested parties, such as beneficiaries and heirs. Once the will or wills is filed, the executor’s duties will begin. Among these tasks are making a list of the deceased person’s assets, paying off debts and taxes, and giving the rest of the property to the beneficiaries.
The executor may also be responsible for handling other financial matters such as selling property, transferring estate assets, and closing bank account. The executor must also keep accurate records of all transactions and file reports with the court regularly.
Depending on the size and complexity of the estate, these duties can be time-consuming and challenging. But they are necessary to make sure that the deceased’s wishes are carried out according to the will.
5. Attend to daily details.
One of the executor’s jobs is to take care of the daily details. This may entail canceling leases and credit cards, as well as notifying banks and governmental organizations, including the Department of Veterans Affairs, Medicare, and the Social Security Administration, of the death.
The executor may also need to cancel any magazine subscriptions or memberships the deceased had. If the person who died owned a business, the executor will have to tell customers, employees, and vendors.
6. Establish an estate bank account.
One of the first things you should do after being named executor is to open a bank account in the name of the estate. This account will hold any money owed to the deceased, such as paychecks or dividends from stocks.
The money in this account will be used to pay debts and expenses related to the estate. In Washington, executors also have to give the court notice of the death within 30 days.
This notice must include a list of all debts and liabilities of the estate. Before giving anything to the beneficiaries, the executor must also show proof that all debts have been paid.
7. Use the estate’s assets to cover ongoing costs.
One of the executor’s key duties is to pay ongoing expenses out of the estate’s assets. This includes utility expenses, a mortgage, and homeowner’s insurance premiums.
In Washington, the executor must also give notice to creditors and pay any valid claims against the estate. If there are not enough assets to cover all of the expenses, the executor may have to sell a property.
The executor should keep careful records of all money coming in and going out of the estate. At the end of the probate process, the executor will need to account for all of the estate’s assets and expenses.
8. Pay off debt.
One of your primary duties as the executor of an estate is to notify creditors of the probate proceedings. In Washington, this must be done by publishing a notice in a local newspaper.
The notice must include the time and place of the first scheduled hearing and the deadline for creditors to file their claims. Once creditors have been given proper notice, you can begin the process of paying off debts.
To do this, you must obtain a list of all outstanding debts from the deceased’s financial records. You will then need to contact each creditor to let them know that you are authorized to pay off the debt.
Once the creditors have given you permission to pay them, you can use money from the estate to pay off the debts.
9. Pay the tax of the deceased person
One of the most important duties of an executor is to file the final income tax return of the deceased person and pay any taxes that may be owed. This is true regardless of whether the estate is required to file a state or federal estate tax return.
In general, only substantial estates are subject to estate taxes. However, all estates are responsible for paying any outstanding income taxes.
The executor is responsible for ensuring that these taxes are paid promptly. In some cases, the executor may also be responsible for paying the property taxes on the deceased person’s home.
In Washington, the executor is required to pay all unpaid property taxes from his or her own pocket if the estate does not have enough money to cover these costs. As you can see, it is important to understand all of your responsibilities as an executor before you agree to take on this role.
10. Inspect how the estate of the deceased is being distributed.
One of the executor’s duties is to inspect how the deceased’s estate is being distributed. People who are supposed to get the property are either named in the will or have the right to do so under state law.
If there are discrepancies, the executor may need to take legal action to resolve the issue. In Washington, for example, the executor can file a Petition for Probate and ask the court to distribute the assets according to the will.
If there is no will, then the assets will be distributed according to state law. Either way, the executor needs to make sure that the assets are being distributed properly.
Call our Executor’s Duties Attorney Now!
If you have been named the executor of a will in Washington, it is important to understand your duties and responsibilities. At Jones Legacy Law, our experienced probate lawyers can guide you through the process of settling an estate.
We understand the laws governing probate and estate administration in Washington, and we can help you fulfill your duties in a timely and efficient manner. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.