An executor, also called a personal representative, is the person responsible for managing the administration of the deceased’s estate. An executor can be either an individual or an institution, such as a bank. In choosing an executor, any state imposed qualifications for executors must be considered. In most states, minors, convicted felons, or someone who is not a U.S. citizen, are not qualified to serve as an executor.
What are the qualifications for an executor in Fayetteville Arkansas?
Arkansas’ statutes require that an executor be over 21 and of sound mind. A corporation can serve as an executor only if authorized in Arkansas to act in a fiduciary capacity. Executors in Arkansas must also be residents of the state unless they have appointed the probate clerk or a resident of the county to accept service of process.
What if I don’t designate an executor in my will?
In most cases, the executor is named in a will. If not, the probate court will appoint an executor. State laws usually determine by priority who will be appointed. Generally, a surviving spouse has first priority, followed by persons entitled to some of the estate. If there is no spouse or persons entitled to a share of the estate are not executors, then any other qualified person may be selected.
The duties of an executor in managing the estate.
Being an executor is a serious responsibility. Being an executor requires a lot of work, which entitles the executor to compensation, subject to approval by the court. Following are some of the duties you may have to perform as executor:
•Apply for probate. In order to officially commence your role as executor, you must apply with the court for probate. The executor will receive either letters of testamentary if there is a will, or letters of administration, if not.
•Hire an attorney. Although you do not have to hire an attorney, it may be in your best interest to do so. Mistakes can cost money and you may be personally liable if something goes wrong.
•Locate documents. An executor must locate the will, if there is one, and also a copy of the death certificate of the deceased. These documents will be required by the court.
•Manage the deceased’s property. One of the first tasks in managing the deceased’s estate is to create a list of assets and liabilities. It is the executor’s duty to protect property in the estate from loss.
•Pay valid claims by creditors. Once you determine who the valid creditors are, debts need to be paid from the funds of the estate. An executor is not personally liable for any of these debts. Reasonable funeral expenses are usually paid first, along with probate and administration fees and taxes.
•Notify interested parties. An executor is responsible for notifying the beneficiaries of the will and any potential heirs.
•Distribute the assets to the beneficiaries. Once all creditors have been paid, the executor distributes assets to the beneficiaries. This step includes selling property or setting up trusts if necessary.
•File tax returns. Estate taxes and incomes taxes need to be paid within the time limits set by law.
•Keep accurate records. Part of being an executor means keeping accurate records of everything you do, because you are required to create and file a final accounting with the court. The beneficiaries must review the final accounting before the distribution of the estate is finalized. Once the final accounting is approved by the beneficiaries and the court, the estate will be closed.
The time and effort required for an executor in Fayetteville Arkansas to fulfill his or her duties varies based on the size of the estate. The average estate administration takes around one year to complete.