The role and duties of the executor of a will

Most people who write a will nominate an executor to oversee the distribution of their estate. Missouri residents may benefit from learning about some of the executor’s responsibilities and complex issues involved in this role.

The job of an executor involves many details that can be overwhelming. Besides having to decipher legal terminology and be familiar with how the probate process works, an executor must be willing to travel to the place where the testator resided and converse with the grieving family members. While the executor’s main task is to identify all of the estate’s assets for distribution, other duties include paying estate taxes, filling all the appropriate paperwork and overseeing any investments.

The executor may also have to deal with complex issues regarding certain assets. While the executor does not have full control over the entirety of assets belonging to the deceased individual, he or she must be aware that there may be taxes due on proceeds from a life insurance policy that was in the testator’s name, as it is considered part of the estate. Therefore, the executor is legally allowed to request the prorated sum of taxes from those named as beneficiaries on the policy.

Another problematic matter the executor may face is how to deal with potential family disagreements about the will. In many cases, a will may specify an unequally large amount of assets be given to a certain family member while a small amount is left to another. In these circumstances, the executor must follow the testator’s wishes.

Because the role of an executor can be complicated and confusing, an attorney who has experience in probate law might prove especially helpful. The attorney can provide assistance with other aspects of estate administration as well.

Source: The Motley Fool, “3 Things Every Executor of a Will Should Know”, Dan Caplinger, Sept. 16, 2015

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POSTED IN: Estate Administration & Probate