Helpful Advice on the Role of the Executor during Probate Proceedings
Estate planning can be one of the most important gifts you can offer your family and loved ones. Unfortunately, the process is sometimes complicated and requires making several important decisions for your loved ones’ future. One important aspect of drafting your will is naming an executor, or the individual who will ultimately be responsible for ensuring that your final wishes are carried out.
At Gorman & Jones, PLC, our Phoenix estate planning attorneys offer detailed advice on the roles of an executor. If you have been named the executor of a loved one’s will, it may be necessary to retain experienced legal counsel, as the responsibilities can be quite overwhelming.
The executor is responsible for:
Initiating the probate process: Following the death of the testator, or individual who drafted the will, the executor is responsible for imitating the probate process. If the executor is not an attorney, it is advisable that they retain legal counsel for advice on the proper process for initiating probate.
Inventorying assets: The executor is responsible for gathering and inventorying all of the estate’s assets, including jewelry, vehicles and property. If it is necessary to obtain appraisals of assets, the executor is responsible to do so.
Addressing debts and payments owed: If the deceased was employed at the time of their debt, the executor is responsible for collecting unpaid wages and benefits. The executor is also responsible for identifying any outstanding debts the deceased owed.
Paying claims: Upon the legal determination that the deceased’s will is valid, the executor may begin paying taxes, debts and any claims against the estate.
Distributing assets: Once all debts and claims have been paid, the executor is responsible for distributing the estate’s assets to heirs. All beneficiaries must be notified of the disbursements.
Closing the estate: Upon completion of all of the above steps, the executor may petition the courts to close the probate process. The court will likely ask for documentation of all payments of debts and disbursement of the remaining estate before closing legal proceedings.
Contact us at our office by calling 602.388.1623 to schedule a free consultation for more information on the role of an executor.