Written By: Brandy Miller | March 16, 2017 | No Comments

While most people consider being named executor of a loved one’s will an honor, it is also an obligation that comes with significant responsibilities. Depending on the complexities involved, it could be a very challenging role. That is why you need to make sure you know what you are getting into before you accept.

Here are just some of the more important responsibilities and duties you will assume.

What Is an Executor?

In a nutshell, the executor of a will is the person the deceased has chosen to distribute his or her property. If a person does not have a will, the court will appoint an executor. This is known as the “administrator of the estate.”

An executor will often have to organize the finances of the deceased and make sure that all taxes and debts are paid. Executors are usually close family members, such as spouses, parents, children or siblings, and must carry out their duties in the most honest, diligent and impartial manner possible.

Paperwork and Organization

The executor will be responsible for not only locating the will but also reading and understanding it completely. He or she will then file the will with the Court and determine who will inherit the deceased’s property. The executor will then need to not only notify credit card companies, government agencies and banks of the death, but also set up a bank account for any other funds that may be coming in. This could include money owed to the deceased person, such as paychecks.

Throughout the probate process, the executor will also likely be charged with taking care of utilities, mortgage payments and other bills. He or she also has the duty to maintain the deceased’s property until it is either sold or distributed. For example, this could mean keeping up a house or making sure personal property is stored in a secure place.

Taxes must be handled, as well. You will likely have to file a final income tax return on behalf of the deceased, running from the start of the year until the date the death occurred.  An inheritance tax return must be filed within nine months of death.

Talk to an Attorney

It can be overwhelming to be named executor of an attorney — especially if the estate is large or there are complexities, you might not have anticipated. That is why you need to speak with an experienced estate planning attorney so that you are as prepared as possible should you accept the role. A seasoned lawyer can also help make sure you properly carry out your duties if you do accept.

At Miller Law Group, PLLC, our attorneys take great pride in treating clients as people — not just billable hours. We have helped people in Berks Country, Reading and throughout the state of Pennsylvania, and we welcome the opportunity to help you, as well. Please contact us online or call 610-670-9000 if you would like more information, or to schedule an appointment.