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The key duties of an executor

On Behalf of | Apr 29, 2024 | Estate Planning, Probate & Guardianships

A will is the starting point of any estate plan. This legal document expresses the final wishes of the testator in terms of how assets should be distributed upon their death. A will can also be utilized to name guardians for minor children. 

Nonetheless, the instructions left behind in a will aren’t just carried out automatically. The executor of a will is tasked with carrying out several key functions. The key duties of an executor include: 

Registering the death 

It often falls upon the executor to officially register the death of the testator. The executor may need to obtain a copy, or several copies of death certificates and notify doctors, creditors and other relevant parties. 

Obtain the most recent will 

An executor can only carry out the wishes of the deceased if they have the most up to date version of their will. Ideally, through effective communication, the executor should have easy access to this. In some cases, the executor may need to work with the Office of the County Clerk to secure copies of the most recent will. 

Initiate probate 

Once the executor has located the will, they can move toward initiating probate. This is the process of distributing assets and carrying out the functions of the will, which is overseen by the court. 

The executor has several responsibilities during probate. They must settle any valid debts from the estate, pay any necessary inheritance taxes and ensure that assets are distributed to the correct beneficiaries.  

The role of executor is an important one. Whether you are trying to decide who your executor should be, or if you’re an executor with questions, it can be beneficial to seek legal guidance.