There are many steps that must happen between the time that a loved one dies and when their assets can be transferred to their heirs according to their will. One person is tasked with these duties, and that person is the executor.
The affairs of the deceased person need to be wound down before the assets can be distributed. The executor must handle this process simultaneously with the legal process known as probate (assuming that probate is necessary). They will inventory and value the assets of the estate.
The executor must open the probate process by filing with the proper probate court and notifying interested parties of the proceedings (including creditors). When the estate goes to probate, the executor will first need to prove the will.
Then, the executor will receive claims filed by creditors and determine whether they should be paid. The deceased person may have owed taxes. The executor will need to file a final tax return for the estate.
In the meantime, the executor is responsible for managing the assets of the estate. They may be tasked with selling estate property, so the proceeds can be distributed. The executor can only close the estate once they have made certain filings with the court that include a final accounting of the financial affairs of the estate. Once the court approves a distribution plan, the executor would then distribute the assets of the estate to the beneficiaries.
An executor has many responsibilities, and they owe a fiduciary duty to the estate. Given the potential liabilities, an executor should consider hiring an attorney.
Contact a Lincolnshire Estate Planning Attorney Today
If you have any questions about the duties of an executor or the probate process, the lawyers at Charles T Newland & Associates are here to help. You can send us a message online or call us today at 847.797.9300.