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In all of the decisions that come in the estate planning process, you may wish to breeze through things like selecting who will be the executor of your estate. However, this is an important choice that merits some time and consideration. The executor is charged with overseeing the entire estate during the probate process. These are serious responsibilities that must be handled with great care. Some people wish to just select a friend or family member for the role of executor. Weigh all available options. Someone who is considerate, has good attention to detail, and even has a background in managing finances would be an excellent candidate for the executor of your estate.

What are the Responsibilities of an Executor?

In broad terms, the executor is in charge of administering the estate and distributing assets according to the wishes expressed in the decedent’s will. Florida law establishes that the executor owes a fiduciary duty to the estate. This means that the executor must act in the best interest of the estate at all times.

First and foremost, the executor must preserve the estate. Preservation of the estate means managing the estate in the way that the value of the estate does not diminish prior to the distribution of estate assets. If the executor believes that some of the estate assets will minimize over time, the executor has the power to sell these assets. If the executor thinks it is wise to invest other estate assets, he or she has the authority to do this as well. The executor may also recruit help in properly preserving the estate by hiring professionals such as attorneys and accountants.

The executor must also pay the debts and expenses of the estate. In some cases, the estate will be responsible for paying continuing expenses such as mortgage payments and homeowner’s insurance. Additionally, income tax must be filed on behalf of the estate for the year the decedent passed away. The estate is responsible for paying the income tax owed. Also, the executor must properly notify creditors of the probate proceeding. All debts the estate is legally required to pay must be settled using assets of the estate.

After all debts are settled, the executor will oversee the distribution of estate assets pursuant to the wishes expressed in the decedent’s will. An exception to this is if the decedent’s surviving spouse and/or children are omitted from the will. Florida law protects surviving spouses and children from this scenario. Even if the spouse or children were omitted from the will, the executor is legally obligated to distribute assets to them as prescribed by state law.

When the assets have been distributed, the estate must be closed. The executor will request that the probate court formally close the estate.

Florida Estate Planning Attorneys Helping You Through Every Step of the Probate Process

Estate planning is important in preserving your estate and your legacy you wish to pass on to your loved ones. At Verras Law, we will help you develop a comprehensive estate plan that addresses every important detail such as who will be the executor of your estate. Contact us today.