What does an executor of an estate do?

The job of an executor of an estate is to do everything that protects the estate during administration, in order to be able to successfully distribute the assets to the heirs or beneficiaries of the estate.   Having said that, the job of an executor comes with many duties.

The duties of an executor of an estate are:

  1.  Collect the assets and put them in the name of the estate.   An example would be:  John Doe, Executor of the Estate of Jane Doe.
  2.  Protect the assets of the estate from losses.   This includes insuring the estate property.  It also means that the executor must safeguard the assets and store them safely.
  3. The executor must post a bond, unless the will specifically waives the bond for him.
  4.  Give notice to creditors.
  5.  Determine which creditor claims should be accepted, and which should be rejected.
  6.  Pay the accepted creditor claims.
  7.  File and pay the taxes with the estate’s money.  This means, that the executor must go back at least three years before the date of death and determine if taxes were owed, and file any returns which should have been filed by the deceased person.  Sometimes, this means paying the penalties and interest, if the decedent was obligated to pay tax, but didn’t.
  8. The executor must file an accounting and tell the court how the money was used.
  9. The executor is bound by the prudent investor rules, and must comply with diversification of the assets.
  10. The executor at the time of the accounting, must get the permission of the court to distribute the assets to the heirs.

Mina Sirkin helps executors of estates manage assets in California.  Ms. Sirkin is a Board Certified Specialist in Probate, Estate Planning and Trust Law in Los Angeles County, California. Call Mina Sirkin at 818-340-4479.