An executor is an individual named within a will to fulfill the wishes of the deceased during the probate process. They hold a number of important responsibilities during the proceedings, and our Florida team explains everything you need to know below.
What is Probate?
Before discussing the job of an executor during the probate process, we first need to understand what probate actually is. Probate is the legal process of administering a person’s estate once they have passed away. This includes analyzing and fulfilling the terms set in the will, gathering and appraising any assets held within the will, paying off any outstanding debts on behalf of the deceased, distributing the assets to the proper beneficiaries, and closing the estate.
Filing a Petition
The first step the executor must take is to file a petition with the probate court. This also includes taking the time to validate the will before any assets are distributed.
Sending Notices to Beneficiaries & Taking Inventory
Executors are also responsible for seeking out and notifying anyone that is named in the will that stands to gain an inheritance, typically relatives, and any creditors the administrator becomes aware of when preparing the last of the decedent’s financial documents.
The administrator will then conduct a thorough inventory of all of the decedent’s assets and property to determine the estate’s total value. This includes determining the value of property like real estate, artwork, and antiques. This process is not only important to determine the value of all the assets in question but also makes sure that all assets are present and accounted for in order to be distributed properly. It is important to note, however, that the value of the items within the estate is determined not by their value at the present, but at the individual’s date of death.
Once someone passes away, their personal debts then become the debts of their estate. Since they are incapable of paying their remaining debts themselves, it is the executor’s responsibility to pay the appropriate estate taxes, as well as settle outstanding debts on behalf of the deceased. This can also include closing any accounts related to other finances or retirement.
Before closing the estate, the last step of the probate process is distributing the probate assets to the proper recipients as described in the will. Some assets can take a relatively short time to process, while more items, such as houses, can require more time to finalize. Once everything has been handed out to the beneficiaries, the estate is ready to be closed.
Closing the Estate
The final step in the probate process is the closing of the estate itself. This includes compensating the executor for their efforts and filing a petition with the court to dissolve the estate, making it available for public record.
Contact Our Probate Team Today
There are a number of issues that can manifest during the probate process, and at Adrian Philip Thomas, P.A., we specialize in a variety of probate matters to make sure you see a smooth and efficient process.
To schedule a free consultation with our team, do not hesitate to contact us today through our website or give us a call at (800) 776-3103!