7 Questions to Consider Before Becoming the Executor of an Estate
Make sure you’re up to the executor appointment before saying yes to a friend or relative.
By Deb Hipp for Debt.com
Has a parent, sibling or friend asked you to be the executor for his or her estate? It may be your first instinct to agree immediately to settle the estate for someone you love after they die, but not everyone is cut out for the job.
Before you agree to take on the many detailed and tedious responsibilities of an executor, it’s crucial that you make sure you have the personality and skills necessary to settle the estate without causing undue stress and disruption to your life.
1. Do I understand the duties of an executor?
As the executor of someone’s estate, you will be responsible for locating, reviewing, and understanding the will and filing the will with probate court if necessary. The executor must also make funeral arrangements, locate life insurance policies, and obtain copies of death certificates and possibly copies of birth and marriage certificates.
Duties of the executor also include locating all of the decedent’s property such as houses and contents, safety deposit boxes, and personal property. You’ll need to manage estate assets and open a separate checking account for the estate so the decedent’s funds don’t commingle with your own.
The executor must then pay from the estate any debts, taxes, and expenses owed and distribute assets to beneficiaries before settling the estate.
Find out: What Happens to Debt When You Die
2. How complex is the estate?
It’s one thing to settle an estate for someone who has only a home, car and a couple of bank or investment accounts. But a more complex estate, with more than one real estate property, commercial real estate or a business is much more complicated.
Ask the person who wants to appoint you as executor what his or her estate includes. Then decide if you want to become the executor and whether you’ll need to hire an attorney to help you settle the estate.