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The executor’s rulebook: Understanding the boundaries of the role

On Behalf of | Jun 5, 2023 | Estate Administration & Probate |

Stepping into the role of an executor is no small task. As the individual entrusted with administering a deceased person’s estate, the executor bears great responsibility and authority. However, it is crucial to understand that this authority also comes with limitations.

Executors must navigate a complex web of legal obligations and ethical considerations, ensuring they act within the boundaries of their role to avoid complications during probate. Understanding these boundaries is vital for a successful and lawful estate administration process.

Executors owe the estate and beneficiaries a fiduciary duty

The first and foremost rule in the executor’s rulebook is acting in the estate’s and its beneficiaries’ best interests. This means making decisions that prioritize the preservation and distribution of assets according to the deceased’s wishes. Executors must put aside personal interests and adhere to the terms outlined in the will or follow the state’s intestacy laws if no will exists.

Executors must be impartial and fair

It’s not in the place of an executor to take sides when discharging their duties. They must administer the estate without favoritism, treating each beneficiary equitably and transparently. This includes keeping detailed records of financial transactions, maintaining accurate accounting and providing periodic updates to the beneficiaries.

Executors must comply with court deadlines and instructions

Executors are bound by the deadlines and requirements set by the probate court. They must file necessary documents, pay debts and taxes,and distribute assets in a timely manner. Failure to comply with these obligations can lead to legal complications and delays in closing the estate.

Have you been appointed the executor of an estate?

It is important to note that executors are not expected to go it alone in the role. Seeking legal guidance can provide invaluable support by helping you understand your rights, obligations and limitations. It will go a long way in ensuring compliance with the law and minimizing the risk of errors or disputes.