What are the executor’s responsibilities?
The executor’s responsibilities, at a basic level, include the following:
- If there is a will, the executor must give notice to all of the relatives that the will is being probated within two weeks after they are appointed. The family members can waive this notice. The executor must then file a certificate of notice with the probate court. If there is no will, we skip this step.
- The executor must open an estate checking account at an in-state bank. All of the estate funds must go into this account. This means everything from the cash in the dresser to the proceeds from the sale of the car. It all goes into the estate account. The executor doesn’t take the cash and keep it in their safe at home and pretend it doesn’t exist. There is no mixing and mingling of estate funds and non-estate funds.
- The executor is responsible to file an inventory no later than three months after they are appointed. The inventory shows the values that came into the executor’s hands on the date of death. The inventory is supported by statements, appraisals, etc.
- One of the other executor’s responsibilities is to file all tax returns that may be required. In most cases, the decedent’s final tax return is due at the same time it would be due if they were still alive. If the decedent prepared their own tax returns, this might take a little longer. The due date for the tax return can be extended just like an individual’s tax return. However, if there are taxes due, money must be paid on or before April 15.
- The executor is also responsible to file a final and distributive account with the probate court six months after the executor is appointed.
Keep in mind that the executor’s responsibilities begin when they are appointed executor. This is an action by the probate court. A designation of executor in a will is a nomination. A person doesn’t have power until the court says that they do.
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