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What are the duties of an estate executor?

On Behalf of | Apr 1, 2024 | Estate Administration & Probate

When a Florida resident passes away, their estate usually goes through the probate process. During probate, the decedent’s last will and testament is verified, and the estate’s debts are settled and outstanding taxes are paid. Once this is done, the estate’s assets are distributed according to the provisions of the will or state intestacy laws. The person tasked with guiding the estate through probate is called the executor. If the decedent did not name an executor in their will or did not leave a will, the probate court will appoint a responsible individual to assume the role.

An executor’s duties

One of an executor’s most important duties is creating an accounting of the estate’s assets and liabilities. Executors are fiduciaries, which means they are required to act in the best interests of the estate and its beneficiaries at all times. Executors are expected to take all reasonable steps to protect the value of the estate’s assets, and they must follow rules established by state law when they pay the decedent’s debts and administrative expenses.

Choosing an executor

If you create an estate plan, choosing an executor is one of the most important decisions you will make. Executors are expected to discharge their duties honestly and responsibly, so you should choose an individual who will feel comfortable dealing with complex legal and financial matters. If the executor you choose to handle your estate administration is also one of your beneficiaries, it may be a good idea to appoint a co-executor to avoid a perceived conflict of interest.

Revisiting estate plans

You should revisit your estate plan from time to time and make revisions if necessary. This is a good time to make sure that the executor you named is still willing and able to perform the duties that will be expected of them. If you want or need to replace your executor, you can do so by adding a codicil to your will.