What Does An Executor Do?
An executor is the person or institution responsible for managing the administration of a deceased person’s estate. The executor (also called a “succession representative” in Louisiana) is named in a will. In Louisiana a person appointed by the court (if there is no will) is called an “Administrator”. Both an executor and an administrator do effectively the same thing depending on the situation and the specific powers given in the Last Will and Testament (if any). In addition to an individual, a bank, trust company, or other institution can serve as either. The appointement of an executor and the duties of the executor are addressed in this article from The Balance: “What is an Executor?”
Executors are responsible for making sure the deceased person’s wishes are carried out and that the estate is wrapped up. An executor’s duties include applying for probate, paying taxes and bills, managing the deceased person’s property, distributing assets to the estate’s beneficiaries, and filing a final accounting with the court. You are not required to hire an attorney to assist you with these tasks, but mistakes can cost you money. You may be personally liable if something goes wrong with the estate or the payment of taxes. An attorney can help you make sure all the proper steps are taken and deadlines met.
In Louisiana a person can be named an “Independent Executor” (IE) in a Last Will and Testament. An IE is allowed to sell assets of the succession without court approval. This can streamline the probate process and reduce costs. If a person is not named an IE, the Executor must obtain court approval to sell assets (and convert them into cash distributable to the heirs), which is generally a time-consuming and costly process.
The amount of time involved in being an executor varies with the size of the estate, but the duties involved need to be taken very seriously. Also, the executor is entitled to compensation, subject to approval by the court.
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