Is the executor doing their job appropriately?

On Behalf of | Jan 17, 2024 | Estate And Trust Administration

When a testator drafts their will, they can name an executor of their estate. The executor is responsible for settling an estate after the testator passes away. An executor can be nearly anyone; many people pick close family members to be their executors. 

Beneficiaries may worry that the deceased’s executor isn’t doing the job assigned to them. This could cause delays in the administration of the estate and make it harder for beneficiaries to come to terms with their family member’s or friend’s passing. Beneficiaries rely heavily on the executor to do their job and, when this isn’t done, beneficiaries may not see their legal share of an estate. 

If you’re a beneficiary waiting for an executor to do their job, then you may need to learn what the executor is responsible for doing. Here’s what you should know:

What are the responsibilities of the executor of the estate?

Executors have a fiduciary duty. The executor’s fiduciary duty is to act in the best interests of the estate and any beneficiaries. This means that they should put the estate before themselves, be honest and open and be fair to beneficiaries. When an executor isn’t doing their job, then they may fail their fiduciary duties.

To fulfill their fiduciary duty, executors have the responsibility to settle the estate as instructed. To settle the estate, the executor typically begins by locating the last valid will and testament and submitting it to probate court. 

The executor then may need to resolve any of the deceased’s financial obligations, such as contacting banks, credit card companies and life insurance companies. This may mean the executor will need to pay the testator’s remaining taxes and debts. 

The executor may also need to locate and secure the testator’s assets. Then they can contact beneficiaries and disperse assets.

If any of these tasks are not done or if the executor is delaying the process, then it may be the responsibility of the beneficiary to reach out for legal help to learn about their options and speed up the process.