When people look for a babysitter for their children, it is important to take extra precautions to assure that the person with whom they entrust their kids is well suited for the job. It is also smart to ask those that they trust to recommend a babysitter and then exercise due diligence to check the babysitter’s references. It is likewise important to exercise similar due diligence when selecting the Executor of your will.
An Executor often is a family member, such as a surviving spouse, but it doesn’t have to be someone related to the testator (maker of the will). In New York, an Executor performs a very important role in carrying out the terms of a will. Some of the responsibilities of an Executor include:
Having the will probated
Collecting the assets of the decedent
Paying the decedent’s debts
Paying administration expenses
Paying taxes that are due on the estate of the decedent
Following the payment of all debts and taxes, the Executor is responsible for distributing all of the remaining assets in accordance with the terms of the will. The Executor may also be responsible for fulfilling any agreements or contracts made prior to the decedent’s death. Furthermore, it is the Executor’s sole responsibility to locate all of the assets of the estate. Therefore, the Executor must perform a thorough search for all such assets or risk being found liable to anyone who is negatively affected by the Executor’s lack of diligence.
An Executor typically gets paid a commission, which is usually calculated as a percentage of the value of the probate estate less any specific bequests left by the testator of the will to specific individuals.
Choosing an Executor is an important decision. Being chosen as an Executor is a major responsibility.
Posted in Estate Planning | Tagged estate administration, executor, probate