What Does an Executor Do?
Settling an estate, in or out of probate court. It's both an honor and a burden to serve as someone's executor. An executor is entrusted with responsibility for winding up someone's earthly affairs -- a big or little task, depending on the situation. Essentially, an executor is charged with protecting a deceased person's property until all debts and taxes have been paid, and seeing that what's left is transferred to the people who are entitled to it.
The law does not require an executor (also called a personal representative) to be a legal or financial expert, but it does require the highest degree of honesty, impartiality, and diligence. This is called a "fiduciary duty" -- the duty to act with scrupulous good faith and honesty on behalf of someone else.
Executors have a number of duties, depending on the complexity of the deceased person's financial and family circumstances. Typically, an executor must:
© 2010 Nolo
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