SAN DIEGO — Dick Enberg, a Hall of Fame broadcaster known as much for his excited calls of "Oh my!" as the big events he covered during a 60-year career, has died. He was...
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Estate executors are trusted individuals who handle the settlement of a deceased person's estate. The duties they perform ensure that property and other elements of the estate are distributed according to both the provisions of any existing will and current probate law. As an estate executor, a person must perform specific fiduciary duties.
If a person does not specify the person they want to act as executor prior to their death, and if no one else comes forward to volunteer for the duties, the court appoints an estate administrator to carry out the executor's tasks.
Estate executors perform multiple roles for the deceased's estate. These roles include but are not limited to:
An executor has a fiduciary duty to the deceased. This means that they have to act in the best interest of the deceased at all times. This sometimes pits the executor against friends and family members of the deceased if the deceased's wishes were contrary to what friends and family members want.
Fiduciary duty also means that the estate executor cannot benefit from his work beyond what is allowed in the deceased's will or state estate executor fee law.
Estate executors also take on legal responsibilities when they handle an estate. For example, they can be held liable for any taxes not paid related to the estate. Additionally, being an executor takes considerable time and effort—it is not unusual for it to take a year or more to close an estate. Executors may have to deal with irate family, friends and creditors of the deceased as well.
It is legal for an estate executor to charge a fee for their services, given the extent of responsibility the executor accepts. The state typically sets the fee, but roughly three percent of the value of the estate is standard. Courts have the right to determine what is reasonable compensation for acting as executor if state law does not specify a fee limit numerically. Individuals also may specify in their wills how much they want their executors to receive if they feel the executor deserves more than the state guideline.
Taking on the responsibility of being an executor is a lasting way to honor the final wishes of someone who has passed away. It's also a lot of hard work. Be sure you are prepared to undertake these duties before agreeing to be the executor of an estate.
You might also be interested in Passing Assets to Your Heirs Without Probate and With Personal Liability Protection.
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