An executor is a personal representative appointed by the testator in their will. In the event of the testator’s death, the executor is responsible for probating the testator’s will. If the deceased does not have a will, the county court picks someone to act as the executor of the decedent's estate. The court in such cases gives precedence to relatives when choosing an executor. When there are no relatives available, the court may appoint anyone it deems fit as the executor.
The Appointment of the Executor
Normally, the person who is nominated for executorship by a will has to file a petition in the probate court of the deceased’s resident county. The petitions should be filed along with the court fee and the original will of the decedent. Filing fees may vary in different states.
Once the petition is filed, the court will review the will to confirm its validity and then grant the formal appointment of the executor.
The Executor’s Responsibilities
Once appointed as executor, the person has the legal power required to:
- Distribute the decedent’s property to the beneficiaries as per their will.
- Pay the debts and taxes owed by the estate before transferring it to the heirs.
- Hire experts like lawyers, tax accountants, and real estate agents for efficient administration of the estate.
- Administer the estate, which will include:
- Signing transfer of title of assets
- Authorizing real estate deeds
- And closing down bank accounts.
The Executor's Duties
The executor under legal duty to ensure:
- Honest and fair administration of the deceased’s estate.
- Keep the deceased’s heir(s) in the loop with the progress of court proceedings and the next course of their actions.