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Adviceiq executor article


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Responsibilities of an executor

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Adviceiq executor article

  1. 1. How to Be a Will’s Executor Submitted by Larry Frank Sr. on Mon, 10/28/2013 - 3:00pm Congratulations or condolences: You are executor of a will. Emotions aside, the weight of the duty depends on both you and the now-deceased person who appointed you. Here’s what to know. Wills legally declare how a person wants property and other assets distributed after death; wills sometimes also recommend a guardian for surviving children. An executor, usually appointed by the deceased or sometimes by a court, administrates the estate to carry out the instructions and wishes of the deceased. No small obligation. Do you have the time, skills, patience, knowledge, temperament and money to perform executor duties according to your state’s guidelines? For one, you carry a legal fiduciary responsibility and must account for the estate meeting all its bills. Your executor duties begin with obtaining the death certificate (sometimes even online); finding the actual will or trust; engaging such professionals as attorneys, accountants or appraisers (sometimes naming them coexecutors); obtaining documentation verifying you as executor; locating assets; and paying off bills and taxes. Before you even accept executorship, consider these tips from the American Association of Retired Persons: · Expertise helps, but common sense and care count, too. Executors aren’t all Wall Street whizzes. · Consider your own health and life expectancy before saying yes. · Point out the advantages and disadvantages of corporate executors such as banks or financial services firms. · Point out family tensions before naming of co-executors or trustees.
  2. 2. · Keep in touch with who picked you. Your life may change tomorrow in a way that suddenly makes you a bad choice for executor. Your duty comes easier if the deceased was organized, especially regarding property records. Do their records point you to one or more financial institutions? Good if they do: If you miss records, the state claims the property under escheatment laws, which means any rightful heirs miss out because they can’t prove ownership. Information on one’s last tax returns helps ferret out property and income sources, such as investments and retirement assets. Also: · Have the decedent’s mail forwarded to you to easily secure documents related to their assets, debts and former bills. Remember that many people now receive property and billing statements electronically and not all email providers allow you access for executor purposes. · See if the decedent listed down any passwords, user names or personal identification numbers. This information also helps deal with online subscriptions and tax-preparation software and with cellphone accounts. · Ask the bank if the decedent kept a safe-deposit box. Get the idea? You need to play detective unless the deceased kept good records both on paper and in electronic format. CNNMoney offers these tidbits: · Should the will go through probate, a process of legal validation, distributing assets might take half a year or more. · Not all families go for each other’s throats over the casket. Other friends and family members named in the will may want to help you. · Prepare to ruffle some family members’ feathers. Many wills leave gray areas that you must settle. · Keep family and others informed, heading off frustration and anger later. For example, don’t sell dad’s house without running it by your siblings. Next to parenthood, executorship ranks as one of the most important responsibilities you may ever take on. Once you agree, take the responsibility seriously and take it easy on yourself when you can. Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq. Larry R. Frank Sr., CFP, is a Registered Investment Adviser (California) in Roseville, Calif. He is the author of the book, Wealth Odyssey. He has an MBA with a finance concentration and B.S. cum laude in physics with which he views the world of money dynamically. He has peer-reviewed research published in the Journal of Financial Planning.
  3. 3. AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily. Topic: Legal Challenges Trusts and Estates Wills