If someone asks you to be the executor of his or her estate, you may want to take some time to think about what the role entails. Depending on the size and complexity of the estate, being an executor can take a lot of work and time.
Understanding what responsibilities the executor has and what qualities help with the role may help you make a better-informed decision.
Role of the executor
The estate executor is responsible for managing the estate when someone dies. According to FindLaw, most of the duties are financial in nature. As an executor, you would identify, locate and obtain valuations for the assets named in the will. You would also need to locate and inform the intended heirs to distribute the assets.
Until settlement of the estate occurs, you would need to maintain all of the decedent’s property. This includes securing valuables for safekeeping, keeping the lawn maintained, collecting and forwarding mail, cleaning out the fridge and making sure any pets find a new home.
Responsibilities of an executor also include paying all ongoing bills, such as the mortgage, as well as filing and paying taxes. The executor may also need to attend certain court appearances.
Qualities of a good executor
According to AARP, the duties of an executor usually take up a lot of time, so it helps if you have flexibility in your job, are in retirement or do not work. The job also takes a certain temperament, as you would be dealing with a variety of personalities. Some skills that would help with the role include:
It also helps if you live near the estate, as you will probably be making numerous trips there as well as to the neighboring courthouse. Flying across the country to do so takes money and even more time.
Although having skills in finance or law can be helpful, it is not necessary. Many executors hire professionals to help them with the more complex details, and money from the estate pays for these, and your, services.