Whether taking care of your estate in Washington or helping someone else with theirs, executors play crucial roles in either process. Before entering into this role, knowing what to expect is smart. People serving as executors take care of many important matters.
Make court appearances
As someone’s estate administration and probate processes begins, courts typically require an estate’s executor to be present. More court appearances could be necessary if disputes arise between an estate’s beneficiaries. Improperly handling your duties as an executor can also require court appearances.
Before you can distribute assets to beneficiaries, executors must settle a person’s debts and taxes. Executors aren’t responsible for situations where the decedent co-signed debt with another person, such as a spouse or close friend. An executor typically pays final utility, insurance and similar monthly bills while closing these accounts.
Filing a will
In most cases, people set up wills before they pass away. If that’s the case, it’s your job to ensure you file this will with the appropriate county’s court. Executors must file a probate petition if the decedent’s estate goes through the probate process. Completing the will-filing process also requires presenting the decedent’s will if you don’t have it.
Paying a decedent’s beneficiaries
After paying debts and settling accounts, executors can begin distributing an estate’s contents to beneficiaries as outlined by the decedent. Sometimes, you’ll need permission from a court to begin this process. During this time, it’s best to have a receipt signed by each beneficiary confirming their received assets.
Executors have much to do, meaning that not everyone can handle this role. If you’re not ready to be an executor, you have no legal obligation to accept this role’s duties.