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What is an executor in probate court?

On Behalf of | Nov 15, 2022 | Estate planning

Executors are a critical part of successful estate plans. According to the American Bar Association, executors are individuals, trust companies or banks that oversee the terms of a will. If there is no will, the executor or administrator settles the estate according to state intestacy laws.

It is best to hire an executor to manage your estate. Neglecting your estate plan will leave the administration up to the state and a court-appointed administrator.

Handle liabilities

Besides distributing and accounting for all your assets, executors take care of your debts. These include taxes, loans, credit card bills and mortgages. The executor has a legal obligation to pay liabilities before disbursing inheritances to beneficiaries.

Handle disputes

The executor must also settle disputes between heirs. Long lost family members might show up, claiming an inheritance or outright taking valuables out of the deceased’s home. A good executor secures the deceased’s property immediately before any claimants take what they believe is theirs. Your executor should remain firm to your wishes described in the will.

Prepare the estate

Executors must begin their work immediately after you hire them. The job does not start after you pass away. Instead, it is an ongoing process that requires consistent updates to your estate and communication with the various legal entities. Ensure they have access to all the necessary documents and consider keeping them in contact with the beneficiaries.

Your executor does not have to be an attorney. However, if they do not have legal training, ensure they have the necessary resources to oversee your will.