An estate executor is the person who is specifically named and entrusted with the task of overseeing another’s personal estate. Generally, this includes all property, funds, and monies owned by the person, including any debts and taxes. The estate executor is appointed to manage all of these if the estate holder dies or becomes incapacitated (unable to manage their own legal affairs).
Some estate executor duties may include:
- Identifying, earmarking, and classifying property for distribution
- Handling distributions of property (for instance, through gifts, will transfers, trusts, and other legal mechanisms)
- Addressing all property debt, taxes, and other outstanding legal issues
- Managing various legal affairs for the estate holder (signing forms, reading documents, etc.)
- Notifying beneficiaries of any recent changes or updates
To some extent, the executor may also be responsible for moderating conflicts that arise in relation to the estate property.
When Does the Executor of Estate Assume Their Duties?
In the majority of cases, the executor assumes their duties upon the death of the estate holder. This is usually done in accordance with instructions contained in the person’s will.
In other cases, the executor may begin assuming their duties if the estate holder becomes physically, emotionally, or psychologically incapacitated. This is similar to cases where a power of attorney is needed for medical reasons. Lastly, the executor may assume their duties according to specific instructions issued by the estate holder, depending on their preferences.
What if the Executor Breaches Their Duties?
A breach of duties can lead to legal consequences against the executor. Executor liability for losses will usually require them to pay damages to beneficiaries and other affected parties. They may also simultaneously be removed from their service as an executor, and replaced by a different person. In some cases, the executor may face various fines and other civil consequences in connection with a violation (such as fraud or other legal violations).
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Estate Executor Duties?
Understanding how executor duties work is essential for the smooth management of any estate. You may wish to hire an estate lawyer if you need help with any legal issues, especially those involving executor of estate duties. Your lawyer near you can provide you with legal advice on how to ensure that such duties are being followed. Your attorney can also represent you in court if you need to file suit due to a breach of estate executor duties.