Those named as executors of a will have a variety of duties after the author of the document passes away. Farm Bureau Financial Services reports that while the main duty is to carry out the final wishes of the deceased, the executor also has many other tasks, both personal and financial, to ensure the handling of the estate runs smoothly.
Understanding one’s duties early on can help executors to better understand their responsibilities once the testator, or the creator of the will, passes on.
1. Request a death certificate
One of the most important duties of an executor is to obtain copies of the death certificate from the funeral home handling the deceased’s funerary services. The executor may require several copies as proof of death as they move ahead with closing the deceased’s bank, medical and credit accounts.
2. Plan the funeral
If the deceased left specific instructions regarding burial wishes, such as a preferred cemetery or cremation, it is the responsibility of the executor to carry out these final plans as outlined in the will. If the deceased bought a funeral plot ahead of time, the executor must speak to the funeral home and cemetery administration about internment. The executor may also create an obituary or assign a family member the task.
3. Settle the estate
Other than overseeing the funerary responsibilities, one of the other major duties of an executor is to settle the deceased financial affairs, such as locating and informing those named as heirs about what they stand to receive and overseeing the transfer of these funds to the proper individuals.
Executors may also settle final tax affairs for the deceased and use estate funds to pay off any debt. This helps ensure all financial matters get settled before any beneficiaries receive an inheritance.