VanNess & VanNess, P.A.

The roles and responsibilities of an estate executor

There are several steps that a Florida resident must take when administering an estate or a trust. First, he or she should order at least 10 copies of a death certificate, which may be done in coordination with a funeral director. If probate is necessary, an administrator must generally wait until the court appoints that person to be the representative of the estate.

A federal tax ID must be obtained for the estate, and a thorough accounting of all assets must be done to the penny. An executor of an estate or trust should not pay bills using personal funds unless absolutely necessary. It is important to keep in mind that the assets belong to the estate or to the trust, which means that an executor cannot make gifts from estate funds unless specifically directed to.

It may be a good idea to partner with a tax professional as well as a lawyer to help handle the estate's affairs. This will make it easier to determine what tax returns need to be filed and when they need to be filed by. Working with an attorney can help an executor make sure that he or she has fulfilled his or her legal obligations when settling the estate.

Those who are the executor of an estate or trust may wish to consult with an attorney. Doing so may make it easier to ensure that beneficiaries have received their inheritance and that tax returns have been filed properly. It may also be possible for an attorney to review actions taken by an executor to ensure that they are legal. Legal counsel may also help resolve any issues related to a creditor or other challenges to a will. This may include any challenge as to the validity of the will itself.

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