By drafting a written will, you can appoint an individual to carry out the provisions of your will. The individual that you appoint is an “executor” (or “executrix” if this person is a female) who is responsible for carrying out your written testamentary intent. Executors are responsible for making sure that your estate pays your creditors before they carry out your testamentary wishes.
Executors are responsible for making sure they carry out the provisions of a decedent’s will. Before a court will discharge them or relieve them of their legal responsibilities, they have to make sure they wind up an estate’s affairs. Winding up a decedent’s estate includes paying individual and estate taxes, paying creditors and transferring property pursuant to testamentary intent.
Because your executor will have significant responsibilities and will play such an integral role in administering your estate, you should contact our office to help you decide whom the best choice may be to serve as your executor.
If you die without a will, a New York Surrogate’s Court will appoint an “administrator” to take the place of an executor. Both executors and administrators have similar legal duties and fiduciary responsibilities, and for simplicity, we’ll refer to both generally as “executors.” Because state laws bestow serious legal and fiduciary responsibilities upon executors, you may wonder if they receive any type of compensation. In the next post, we’ll cover this issue.