Many people in Florida have heard about someone being called an executor for an estate, but they may not know exactly what the term means. An executor is the person who is responsible for taking care of all of the financial affairs of a decedent by managing the probate process. Probate is the legal process that makes sure the decedent’s debts and obligations are all paid off and taken care of before the rest of the estate is distributed to its beneficiaries.
Before they die, people often assign an executor to be in charge of their estate. If they’ve passed away and no executor has been named, the court will usually name one. The probate process could be done quickly, or it might take several years depending on the size and complexity of the estate.
The executor has to submit the will to the probate court in order for it to be reviewed and accepted. Once the will is accepted by the court, the probate process will begin. This is also the part of the process where people who contest the will can make an official filing.
The executor has to gather all of the decedent’s assets. This includes the home, bank accounts, cars, jewelry, insurance policies and any other items of value. The executor will then pay all remaining bills, taxes and any other debts that the decedent left behind. The executor needs to go out of their way to make sure that all parties owed money are actually paid. Active assets need to be maintained by the executor. This includes things like making sure that the mortgage or car payments continue to be paid if necessary. Once all debts have been satisfied, the remaining assets will be distributed among the beneficiaries.
People who need help with estate planning may benefit from working with lawyers who have experience handling all types of estates. A lawyer may help a client create an estate plan or review and update an existing one.