How Do You Figure Out Who Is the Estate’s ExecutorWhen a relative passes away, you may need to figure out who is the executor of his or her estate in order to distribute the relative’s assets to heirs. Determining the executor is usually relatively simple once you locate the will.
Why Do You Need to Identify the Executor?
An estate executor serves several important functions in distributing and settling a deceased person’s estate. He or she gathers all of the deceased person’s assets, locates any heirs, notifies creditors, and distributes the assets to heirs. The executor handles payment of taxes and legal fees, hiring professionals if necessary to help manage estate assets. In addition, an estate executor sometimes must make filings with the probate court.
An executor usually needs to take charge of estate assets soon after a person passes away to prevent any reduction in value of the assets (such as unpaid bills or damage from neglect). Sometimes, the burial arrangements or end of life wishes could be delayed because the executor has not been identified quickly.
How Do You Identify the Executor?
The deceased person’s will should name the executor. Many wills also name successor executors in case the first one cannot or will not perform the job. Once you locate the will, locating the executor is usually simple.
In some cases, though, you might have a tough time figuring out who is the estate executor. This could happen if:
- The will does not name an executor
- You cannot locate the person named as executor
- The executor has died or is incapacitated and no successor is named
- You cannot find the will
- The deceased person did not make a will
If there is no will, then the probate court likely needs to appoint an estate representative to serve essentially the same function as an executor. You or another interested person such as a relative or friend of the deceased person needs to apply to the court requesting this appointment. The probate judge will then select an appropriate person to serve as representative with court supervision.
Need help handling a deceased relative’s estate? Local attorney Andrew Szocka, Esq. provides thorough and speedy estate planning help in the Chicagoland area. To schedule a free initial consultation, visit the Law Office of Andrew Szocka, P.C. online or call the office at (815) 455-8430.