VanNess & VanNess, P.A.

Some duties of an executor

Florida residents who have been named as executor under a will may wonder what their duties are when the testator dies. As fiduciaries for the beneficiaries and the testator's estate, they must locate, value and secure all assets. This process will vary. Some assets may be accessed on producing a death certificate and a formal authorization from the court. A claim might be required to get insurance assets.

Appraisals may be necessary for property including furniture, jewelry and collectibles. Some collections may require a specialist to perform this task. Real estate and businesses must also be valued. Once the executor knows how much the estate is worth, it is possible to calculate whether it is sufficiently insured. The figure will also be used on any court-ordered inventories and for federal tax returns.

If no federal estate tax is owed, a tax return must still be filed, but the estate valuations can be estimates. Therefore, in some cases, executors might be able to skip some appraisals if they can produce a reliable estimate.

People who are creating an estate plan should think carefully about who they will choose for various estate administration jobs such as executor and trustee. These are not people who necessarily need to be experts in their area, but they should be trustworthy and organized and should know when they might need professional assistance. For example, while they have a duty to manage the estate effectively and sometimes even profitably, they might consult a financial adviser to discuss how to make the best investments. They may also want to have the help of an attorney who has experience with these types of matters.

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