The executor of a will is the individual that will handle the estate administration tasks. It is not a ceremonial role that you bestow upon someone as a sign of respect, and we will look at the details here.
Selecting an Executor
If you decide to record your final wishes with regard to asset transfers in a will, you can name an executor when you are drawing up the document. The will is going to be admitted to probate after your passing, which is a court supervised process. This court would appoint a personal representative to act as the administrator if no executor is designated.
Identify Assets and Prepare Them for Distribution
The first order of business is to identify and secure the assets prior to distribution to the beneficiaries that are named in the will. When the property has been inventoried, the executor will take steps to prepare it for distribution to the heirs.
For example, let’s say that there is real estate involved that must be liquidated to distribute the proceeds among multiple people. Under these circumstances, the executor would get to work on the liquidation process.
Determine If Probate Is Necessary
Generally speaking, assets that are transferred through the terms of a will pass through probate. However, jointly owned assets can potentially be passed to the surviving owner outside of probate.
Plus, there is a simplified probate procedure in Connecticut for small estates valued at $40,000 or less. In these situations, a surviving spouse, next of kin, or court-approved beneficiary can submit an affidavit to the probate court requesting the approval of a simplified process.
Notify the Inheritors
If the will clearly spells out the way that the assets will be distributed, the executor will follow those instructions. They will inform the inheritors about the contents of the will, so they know what to expect.
Admit the Will to Probate
To comply with Connecticut state laws, the will must be admitted to probate unless the estate qualifies for the simplified process. Even if it is a small estate, the court must approve the request.
Attend to Details
There are a number of different details that must be addressed by the executor while the estate is being administered. For one, government agencies and financial institutions should be notified about the passing of the decedent. These would include the Social Security Administration, Medicare, and where applicable, the Veterans Administration. Credit card accounts will be canceled as well.
Establish an Estate Bank Account
While the estate is being administered, the decedent may continue to receive payments of various kinds. A bank account will be established to hold the assets, and it will also be used to cover expenses and pay outstanding debts.
Distribute the Assets
When the necessary tasks have been completed to the court’s satisfaction, the executor will be free to distribute the assets to the beneficiaries in accordance with the stated wishes of the decedent.
Access Our Complimentary Worksheet!
We have many resources on this site that you can access free of charge, and one of them is our carefully prepared worksheet. You can use it to get a more thorough understanding of this important process, and you can click this link to access your copy.
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If you came here because you would like to work with a Westport or Glastonbury, CT estate planning lawyer to put a plan in place, we can help. You can send us a message to set up a consultation appointment, and we can be reached by phone at 860-548-1000.