The executor of an estate is the person charged with the responsibility of carrying out the wishes of the decedent, as described in the decedent’s will and estate planning documents. If you have been named as the executor of a Florida estate, there are a few things that you will want to keep in mind.
First, you should realize that serving as an executor is not easy and it involves a lot of responsibility. A lot of the process involves the gathering of important paperwork. You will need to find and identify all assets owned by the decedent’s estate and report those assets to the probate court. You will also need to communicate with family members, friends and heirs of the estate. If you are worried that these matters will be too complex for you to understand, help will be available. As the executor, you will be able to hire an attorney on behalf of the estate to assist you in navigating this complicated process.
Second, remember to account for assets that are not handled through the estate or probate as well. These include life insurance proceeds, retirement accounts, trust accounts and other types of property. This is important because the estate might need to pay taxes on certain kinds of property like this.
Third, and finally, be careful not to get mixed up in family battles. It is very common for families to fight over inheritances and wills, and it can be difficult for the executor to stay out of such problems since you will essentially be in the middle of it all. Regardless what happens in this regard, the executor must at all times treat everyone fairly and not cave to any unfair demands. During times of family turmoil like these, an attorney who is further removed from the issue can be especially beneficial.
Source: Fool, “3 Things Every Executor of a Will Should Know,” Dan Caplinger, accessed Oct. 09, 2015