The executor’s role is critical to the administration of your estate and the achievement of your estate planning objectives. So your first instinct may be to name a trusted family member as executor. But that might not be the best choice.
Duties of an executor
Your executor will have a variety of important duties, including:
Arranging for probate of your will (if necessary) and obtaining court approval to administer your estate,
Taking inventory of — and collecting, recovering or maintaining — your assets, including life insurance proceeds and retirement plan benefits,
Obtaining valuations of your assets if necessary,
Preparing a schedule of assets and liabilities,
Arranging for the safekeeping of personal property,
Contacting your beneficiaries to advise them of their entitlements under your will,
Paying any debts incurred by you or your estate and handling creditors’ claims,
Defending your will in the event of litigation,
Filing tax returns on behalf of your estate, and
Distributing your assets among your beneficiaries according to the terms of your will.