How long does an executor have to settle an estate?

It’s a reasonable question: How long does an executor have to settle an estate? The answer is also fairly straightforward: An executor can take as long as needed to settle the estate as long as he or she is fulfilling their obligations and hasn’t just walked away from the responsibility for an unreasonable amount of time.

For example, if an individual takes on the duties of executor and then takes little or no action, the beneficiaries named in the will or the court itself can take action to remove the executor and appoint someone in their place. In most cases, an estate is typically closed within a year. However, complex estates with a great deal of property and belongings can actually take several years to liquidate and close.

Remember, an executor has many responsibilities. The largest are considered to be the following:

  • Collect, inventory and appraise all the assets within the estate.
  • Pay the bills, taxes, estate expenses and creditors of the person who died.
  • Transfer property according to the will or, if there is no will, then according to the law.

Whatever the size of the estate, it’s best not to rush through the process. Rushing can cause an entirely different set of problems and delays. Did you know that an executor who improperly distributes assets from the estate before settling with creditors and paying taxes could be held personally liable? Again, it’s proof that it’s best not too rush.

When to comes to estate management and settling an estate, laws will vary from state to state. If you feel that you are perhaps moving too fast or too slow, it’s best to consult with an experienced Realtor, tax attorney or estate liquidator as they are all well-equipped to answer any questions and address any concerns that you may have. For more information or assistance, please contact The Olear Team today!

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