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The responsibilities of an executor of a will

On Behalf of | May 18, 2020 | Estate planning

An executor of a will carries a great deal of responsibilities, and Delaware residents might be interested in knowing what those responsibilities are. While each estate may vary in how the will is managed, here are some of the basic duties of the role.

Executors must file a copy of the will with the court

One of the most important responsibilities of the executor is to file a copy of the will with the probate court in the county where the decedent last resided. Once this is done, the court formally gives full power to the person named as an executor to legally act on behalf of the estate. In some cases, especially if the estate is large and complex, the court might conduct its own validation of the will.

Bills must be paid before beneficiaries can receive their inheritance

A further vital duty of an executor is to notify all the beneficiaries who are named in the will, either formally through a letter or informally if the executor is related to the beneficiaries. However, before heirs can receive their inheritance, the executor is responsible to make sure the any unsettled liabilities relating to the decedent’s estate are paid, such as income taxes, estate taxes, credit card debts and personal loans. The process might also involve canceling credit cards, closing bank accounts, stopping cable subscriptions and contacting the Social Security Administration to stop any Social Security payments that are sent to the decedent. In case there are creditors that the executor is not aware of, a Notice to Creditors should be placed in a local newspaper, which alerts creditors of the death so they can make a claim against the estate.

How executors can get through the process successfully

Navigating the probate process can be complex, confusing, and overwhelming, especially for family members who are grieving over the loss of a loved one. An attorney could help those appointed as an executor with filing the necessary court documents and other legal paperwork that could expedite the process of settling a decedent’s will.