UNDERSTANDING EXECUTOR RESPONSIBILTIES
The executor is often named in the will, and is left in charge of managing all things related to the trust or probate sale. This individual will sometimes be referred to as the administrator, and is responsible for bill payments, taxes and asset distribution. When a decedent’s will provides no executor or the named party is unable to perform these duties, the closest relatives of the decedent are next in line to take over executor responsibilities.
*Establishing Property Inventory
This is included in the duties of the executor. All properties and assets must be inventoried so as to establish the value of the estate. This process is done in order to ensure the assets are distributed properly. The estate must cover outstanding debts as well as payments to heirs and other beneficiaries. If the inventory shows that the estate value does not cover all the obligations, some beneficiaries may receive less than the amount provided by the will.
It’s also necessary that all properties be accounted for. Real and personal properties must be tallied by the executor so that distribution is handled fairly once the probate is complete. If properties are included in the will but have since gone missing or been sold, ademption statutes may come into play. These clauses help executors figure out whether or not assets should be replaced or if another form of compensation needs to be provided.
*Defining a Trust or Probate Asset
Most every asset belonging to a decedent falls into this category. This applies to joint-tenancy properties, though assets falling into the Tenancy in Common category may not be subject to a probate. Some financial holdings such as retirement accounts and life insurance have designated beneficiaries, in which case those may not undergo a probate. In the case where a spouse survives the decedent, standard probates typically do not apply.