Executor of a Will
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What Is an Executor of a Will?
An executor of a will is the person that is appointed to oversee a person’s estate upon their death. This person is usually named in the will documents by the testator (the creator of the will). A will executor should preferably be close to the testator, familiar with their intentions, and should be trustworthy in handling their estate.
If the person dies without a will (intestate), the state may appoint an appropriate person to act as executor. The executor should be a “non-interested” person, meaning that they will not stand to gain financially from the person’s will.
What Are Some Duties of an Executor?
Duties of the executor may include:
- Handling accounts: The executor may need to set up specific accounts in connection with the deceased person’s financial assets
- Debt: The person must also ensure that outstanding debts left by the person are met, including property taxes
- Oversee distributions: The property needs to be distributed according to the specific instructions listed in the will. For instance, if property is only to be transferred after certain conditions have been met, this needs to be regulated
There may be many, many other duties that the executor of a will is entrusted with. This will depend on many factors, including the size of the estate, as well as state laws.
What If There Is a Dispute with the Executor of a Will?
If an executor of a will breaches their legal duties, it may be necessary to take legal action. A beneficiary or interested person can often file with the court for removal of the executor. The court will examine the facts to determine whether this is necessary. If so, the executor will be dismissed from their role, and a new person will be appointed to act as the legal executor of the will.
In serious cases, the executor may be required to pay damages if their negligence or recklessness has caused losses to another party.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help Being a Will Executor?
If you will be serving as a will executor, or if you have any legal issues involving a will executor, you may need to hire an estate planning lawyer. Your attorney can inform you of your legal rights and responsibilities according to the wills and estates laws in your area. Also, your lawyer can represent you before a judge if you need to file a legal claim for damages.
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Last Modified: 05-18-2015 12:04 PM PDT
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