Understanding your appointment as executor of estate

When an individual dies and leaves a will, there’s a good chance that a close friend or family member has been named executor. Before appointment as executor of estate can become official, there are several legal steps to take.

Guidelines for appointment as executor of estate

  • First, the individual named as executor in the will must be formally appointed by a probate court judge. Formal appointment by court order is required in order for the executor to carry out the wishes of the deceased individual and liquidate the estate.
  • If the named executor does not wish to carry out his or her duties or is unable to serve, the court will select an alternate executor. Being named executor in a will does not contractually bind you to accept that role. Depending on the size of the estate, a great deal of time and effort may be required.
  • Before being appointed, the executor must file a petition in probate court in the county where the deceased individual lived. Along with the petition, the executor must also present the original will and pay a filing fee that is typically in the $150 range.
  • Every state has its own rules regarding appointment as executor of estate. An experienced estate attorney can provide much needed advice along with general guidelines to follow.
  • When officially appointed, the executor has numerous responsibilities such as safeguarding all property and assets, paying outstanding bills and taxes, closing bank and investment accounts, and distributing the remaining assets to beneficiaries named in the will. Every will, and every estate settlement, is different. 
  • Frequently, settling an estate includes preparing the deceased’s house or other property for sale and selling it. An experienced Realtor can help ensure this process is completed efficiently.
  • Finally, the executor must always act in a fair and honest manner and in the best interest of the estate. Realtors, estate attorneys and estate liquidators can a tremendous help.

If you find yourself in the role of executor and need assistance with the real estate aspect of settling the estate, the Olear Team can help – call us today at 716-880-4442

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