Serving as the executor of someone’s last will and testament can be a complex and time-consuming job. For this reason, if someone asks you to be their executor, you should carefully consider whether you have the time, ability, and willingness to adequately carry out all of the duties and responsibilities during the probate process.
The following are only some of the duties of an executor after a will-maker passes away:
- Locate the will, which could be kept at an attorney’s office, in the home of the deceased individual, or another location.
- Notify the beneficiaries of the death and that probate of the will has begun.
- Identify all of the assets of the estate and keep them safe and secure. Identify all debts of the estate and continue to manage them throughout the probate process. All investments and debts should be handled in a way that is not self-serving and that upholds the interests of the beneficiaries.
- Determine the value of the estate, which often requires the assistance of appraisers or valuation professionals.
- Complete and file all necessary income tax returns with the IRS1 and the Washington Department of Revenue.2
- Pay off all debts of the estate and challenge any creditors who wrongfully claim debts against the estate.
- Defend the estate against any will contests or other probate litigation.
- Distribute the assets of the estate in accordance with the provisions of the will.
- Establish trusts if necessary for any beneficiaries who are minors, mentally incapacitated, or if the will so instructs.
- Formally close out the estate.
As you can see, an executor has many responsibilities throughout the entire probate process, many of which can be complicated. An experienced Tacoma probate lawyer can help guide you through the entire probate process and can represent you in any legal conflicts.
If you are the executor of a will and are facing the probate process, please do not hesitate to contact a qualified Tacoma probate lawyer at the Dickson Frohlich Phillips Burgess. Call 253-572-1000 for a consultation today.