You should be honored to be nominated as an executor in a Will.  

Executors play a critical role in administering an estate and carrying out the terms of the Will. Individuals nominated as executors are generally trusted and respected by the testator, or the person making the Will. 

What am I responsible for?

Right now you probably aren't responsible for anything. After the testator's death, you will be asked to accept the responsibility of an Executor, which generally includes managing and administering the testator's estate. 

While the responsibilities of an executor may vary by state and may depend on the details of the estate, executors often:

  • Gather assets of the estate
  • Coordinate the payment of taxes and debts of the estate
  • Coordinate distributions to heirs and beneficiaries. 
  • An executor may need to make filings with the probate court, or other court that handles probate proceedings
  • Executors may work with accountants and attorneys to handle some of the tasks required in probate, if the circumstances allow. 

When do my responsibilities as Executor start?

The duties and responsibilities of executors come into play after the death of the testator. In most cases, a court must approve the appointment an executor before the executor assumes the duties and responsibilities. 

You may not need to do anything at this time. It may be helpful to have a conversation with the testator who nominated you as executor. While it may be difficult to raise this subject, remember you were nominated as someone the testator holds in very high regard and trusts to handle these responsibilities. Having a conversation may make it easier to carry out the duties of an executor, when the time comes. 

Does this have to be approved by a court?

In most cases, yes, the court must approve the nomination to appoint an executor. If your appointment as executor has been approved by a court or if you have further questions about the duties and responsibilities of being an executor, you may wish to consult a qualified attorney licensed to practice in your state.


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