Choosing an executor is one of the most important decisions you can make. The executor is responsible for the distribution of your assets at your death. It is a typically straightforward job to fulfill, but there can be complications, issues, and problems along the way to the final distribution of our estate. Your executor or executrix will be there, running interference for you like a champ. That is if you pick the right person for the job at the outset.
Make Your Final Plans Airtight
It is an understatement that you need to lock down your final wishes. Your executor must locate and read your Last Will and Testament and any codicils and understand what you wanted to occur. There may be meetings with estate attorneys, family members, probate courts, or any other interested parties, and your executor has to field all of these meetings with style and grace. If your will needs to be filed with the district probate court, your executor will also handle this.
End-of-Life and Funeral Plans are the Executor’s Specialty
The executor will handle your funeral plans, including your cremation, burial, green burial, and distribution of cremains in the air, at sea, or wherever you have purported you want this to be accomplished. The executor will arrange for several original copies of a death certificate to be procured and arrange for the care of any dependent children and pets left behind when you pass away.
The Executor Secures Assets and Accounts Immediately
The executor will go and freeze your accounts, seize control of your assets and manage your property at the time of your death. This will ensure that your assets will be properly distributed to the appropriate parties in due time. This includes any:
- Bank accounts
- Security boxes
- Share certificates
- Insurance policies
- Other assets
The executor will review and inventory all assets, appraise their value, and arrange for any transfer back to jointly held assets from surviving owners or spouses.
Executors Notify Beneficiaries and Creditors of Their Interests
The executor will next notify any beneficiaries of their interests in your estate. The beneficiaries will be told what they are getting, when, and how they will receive distributed assets from your estate. If there are any outstanding debts in the estate, your executor will square these too. The payments, subscriptions, notices, automatic withdrawals from your bank accounts, and more will be reviewed and stopped. Your executor will cancel and pay off all credit card debts. If there are other outstanding debts or bills, the executor will pay these down and off from funds in the estate or from the estate account.
Executor’s Claim Life Insurance and Other Benefits at Your Death
The executor can then formally claim any life insurance benefits, Veterans benefits, Social Security benefits, or back wages from your employer. If you have dividends or stocks, these will be reviewed as well. All funeral expenses, outstanding medical bills, and credit card bills will be paid off. There will be an advertisement that creditors will be able to see to make a claim against the estate if necessary. The executor will have to carefully identify the valid claims made against the estate and separate them from the obvious scams trying to commit fraudulent transfers from the estate.
Spousal, Child Support Payments, and Taxes Need to Be Arranged
The executor will be tasked with arranging any necessary child support payments or spousal payments that need to continue from the estate. The court will assist in these determinations. Additionally, the executor will need to file an income tax return for you, your last one ever, and pay any estate taxes if they are needed. Your executor then has to pay any fees to an attorney, accountant, or other professionals who have assisted in the closing of your affairs and claim the necessary executor fees as well.
Finally, any distribution of gifts, assets, or bequeathed properties will need to be given to beneficiaries, recipients, organizations, schools, charities, or community organizations in your name from your estate. The executor will check the will one last time and ensure that your last wishes are “all set” and that everything and everyone was covered according to your preferences.
The estate will be organized, records filed, receipts reviewed and proof of disbursements collected. At that time, the final report will be compiled to close our estate, and the estate bank account will also be closed out. Any other tax consequences required by the probate court will be accounted for, and your executor will be able to sit down, as it will be all completed to the best of the executor’s ability, as your wishes have been fulfilled.
You need to think of the someone in your life who is responsible and also up for the task of distributing your entire estate when you die. To make it as easy as possible, you need to talk to a lawyer well in advance of this day. It will save time, make the best of the situation, and allow your wishes to be served to the letter in the most efficient way possible by your chosen executor of your estate. If you have any questions, get in touch with a Texas estate planning lawyer to learn more about your rights.