What does it mean to be an executor of a will?

On Behalf of | Feb 17, 2023 | Probate, Wills

A close friend or a family member has asked if you will be the executor of their Indiana will. You’ve agreed to do so, but do you understand what an executor is and the duties of being one?

Definition of an executor

An executor of a will serves as the legal representative of the person who appointed them. They are responsible for sorting out the finances of a person after the latter’s death while also managing the estate according to the terms of the will. Executors are responsible for making many decisions on behalf of the deceased, with many of the actions taking place in probate court.

Duties and responsibilities of executors

Executors have a fiduciary duty. They must execute the deceased’s wishes in good faith. Sometimes these duties can become drawn out if the will is complex. Typical tasks that executors must perform are:

  • Locate the will and submit it in court
  • Identify all assets and pay liabilities
  • Defend the deceased’s assets during legal proceedings
  • Pay the required taxes
  • Close the estate when the remaining assets have been distributed

While defending the will, executors may oversee the process if someone contests its terms or feels the choice of the executor is wrong.

Carefully consider the executor process

Naming an executor is a vital part of the estate planning process. Whether someone has asked you to be an executor or you are in the midst of naming one, make sure that you both understand the duties and that the person who will act in that capacity has the wherewithal to do so.

Like other parts of an estate plan, you can change who you name as the executor.