People who decide to create a will have a number of decisions to make, but choosing an executor is usually among the most crucial. According to Farm Bureau Financial Services, an executor’s main duty is to carry out the final wishes of the deceased and see to the closing of the estate.
If someone named you the executor of an estate, understanding the range of duties and their importance may help you navigate the process with more confidence.
Carrying out funeral arrangements
If the deceased left instructions regarding his or her final arrangements, it is your responsibility to carry them out. You may have several provisions to fulfill, including:
- Arranging for cremation
- Instructions regarding a wake or viewing
- Ensuring the burial location is correct and available
As executor, you have the right to choose the handling of the deceased’s remains if he or she left no stated preference in the will.
Arrange for probate
As executor, one of your duties is to file the will for probate at your local court. Most will require this step, as it ensures each heir receives his or her inheritance and that the rest of the deceased’s assets get distributed properly. You control the assets at this point and will continue to do so as you contact those named as heirs and see that they receive their legacies.
There are several other duties that may require your attention as executor of a will, such as filing a death certificate and paying off the deceased’s final expenses. Any debt left behind requires payment before the heirs named in the will can receive their inheritances.