What Are the Duties of an Estate Executor?
As a part of your estate planning process, it is imperative that you assign someone the duty of estate personal representative. (Some states still call that person an executor. Because so many people are more familiar with the older term, I will use that term here). That person should be a trust company or a close friend or family member that you trust to handle all of the various tasks needed to settle your estate upon your passing.
The duties of an estate executor include:
- Paying off debts and protecting property. Your estate executor will be in charge of taking an inventory of all of your property and your debts. For any types of property that require regular maintenance (houses, cars, etc.), your executor will need to make sure that they remain in working order. Other property that is particularly valuable might require safekeeping. If your estate has unsettled debts, it is the responsibility of your executor to settle them with cash from your estate.
- Valuating your estate. Once the executor has taken inventory of all your property, they must estimate the estate’s total value. This can be complicated by the presence of rare items that need expert valuation.
- Determining whether probate is necessary. Some probate courts have a maximum value that can be distributed to all beneficiaries before probate courts are involved. Florida does. Florida also has a value limit below which a summary administration of the estate is available. The executor must determine whether the estate falls underneath that maximum values for no administration or summary administration and then determine what the legal process will be if the probate court must be involved with your estate.
- Locate beneficiaries. The executor will examine the wills or trusts established by the decedent and locate any beneficiaries that will receive an inheritance through the estate.
If you have any additional questions about the role of an estate executor, meet with the Tampa estate planning attorneys at BaumannKangas Estate Law.