The executor's main duty is to carry out the instructions to manage the affairs and wishes of the deceased. The executor is appointed either by the testator of the will (the individual who makes the will) or by a court, in cases wherein there was no prior appointment.
Only a probate court can appoint an executor. Even if there is a will naming an executor, the court must accept the will and then formally appoint the executor. In order to be appointed as executor, someone must “open the estate” of the deceased person in the local probate court and ask to be appointed as executor.
Do you need an executor? Technically, you do not need to appoint an executor. But somebody will have to deal with winding up your estate when you die, no matter how little you own. If you haven't appointed at least one executor, or if you named executor has died, then someone else will step in as an administrator.
Heirs as Executors
Most states have no statute that expressly prohibits an heir from also serving as executor. Because an executor should be someone the testator trusts, they typically want a spouse, family member, or close friend to take on this responsibility.
Who can be an executor of a will? ... There's no rule against people named in your will as beneficiaries being your executors. In fact, this is very common. Many people choose their spouse or civil partner, or their children, to be an executor.
When no will exists, the person in charge of the estate is called the executor or personal representative. When a person dies intestate – dies with no will – a family member may apply to the courts to act as the estate administrator.
This document gives the nominated executor the legal authority to administer the estate. Generally it takes about 8 weeks after the estate has been reported to the Master's Office before the Master issues his Letters of Executorship.
You can present this letter to the court, banks and other organizations as proof of your role. Only an executor can obtain the letter of testamentary. You need to take the deceased's Last Will and Testament as well as his or her death certificate to your local probate officer or court in order to obtain the document.
Your chosen executor can transfer her nomination to someone else after your death, should she decide she doesn't want the job. Most states provide simple forms, called “renunciations,” that a named executor can submit at the time she presents your will for probate.
Who should I choose to be an executor? It could be a friend or family member. They don't have to be related to you but it should be someone that you feel you can trust and who is willing to take on the responsibility of the role. The people you choose can also inherit something from your will.
The main difference is that the trustee is the person responsible for making the decisions that maintain the estate whilst it is held on trust before it is given to the beneficiaries, and the executor is the person that carries out (or executes) the actions in the Will eg applying for probate.
The first thing to do is obtain the death certificate.
Depending on your state, the funeral home or state's records department in the location where the death occurred will have them. Get five to ten originals, with the raised seal. You'll need them to gain control of assets.
One of the foremost fiduciary duties required of an Executor is to put the estate's beneficiaries' interests first. This means you must notify them that they are a beneficiary. As Executor, you should notify beneficiaries of the estate within three months after the Will has been filed in Probate Court.
The difference is literally life and death. The agent serving under your power of attorney only has power and authority to act during your lifetime. Conversely, the executor is a person who is appointed by the probate court to close out your estate when you pass away.
What an Executor (or Executrix) cannot do? As an Executor, what you cannot do is go against the terms of the Will, Breach Fiduciary duty, fail to act, self-deal, embezzle, intentionally or unintentionally through neglect harm the estate, and cannot do threats to beneficiaries and heirs.
Can an Executor Remove a Beneficiary? As noted in the previous section, an executor cannot change the will. This means that the beneficiaries who are in the will are there to stay; they cannot be removed, no matter how difficult or belligerent they may be with the executor.
The Letters of Executorship and Letters of Authority can only be obtained from the Office of the Master of the High Court.
In practice, the master may appoint a close family member as the executor, such as a spouse or a child, in which case he will not require security. However, he may require the appointment of an agent.
An executor can transfer money from a decedent's bank account to an estate account in the name of the executor, but they cannot withdraw cash from the account or transfer it into their own bank account. ... However, the executor cannot use the funds for their own purposes or as they wish.
If an individual dies without a will, their surviving spouse, domestic partner, and children are given an inheritance priority. If there are no surviving spouse, domestic partner, nor children, then their surviving parents are next in line.
Paying with the bank account of the person who died
It is sometimes possible to access the money in their account without their help. As a minimum, you'll need a copy of the death certificate, and an invoice for the funeral costs with your name on it.
An executor may have to apply for a special legal authority before they can deal with the estate. This is called probate. ... Although there are some exceptions, it is usually against the law for you to start sharing out the estate or to get money from the estate, until you have probate or letters of administration.
If an executor/administrator is refusing to pay you your inheritance, you may have grounds to have them removed or replaced. ... If this is the case, any Court application to have them removed/replaced is very unlikely to succeed and you may then be ordered to pay all the legal costs.