Lawyer visiting old man to review estate plan document

I’ve Been Appointed Executor of an Estate 

Caleb Bland Law, PLLC June 28, 2023

When a person dies, probate and estate administration are often required to settle the decedent's estate, finances, and final affairs. An executor or administrator is usually appointed to handle the estate administration process, which includes gathering assets, paying taxes and debts, and distributing assets to inheritors. Being named as the executor of a loved one's estate is a great honor. However, it is important that you understand your responsibilities and perform your expected duties successfully. 

At Caleb Bland Law, PLLC, we have the diligence and knowledge to advise and guide fiduciaries and families through the complicated estate administration process. Our trusted attorney is available to discuss your unique situation and enlighten you about your duties and responsibilities as an executor of a loved one's estate. We're proud to serve clients throughout Elizabethtown, Louisville, Shepherdsville, Leitchfield, Radcliff, and Grayson County, Kentucky. 

What Is an Executor?

An executor is a person named in the deceased person's will and appointed by the probate court to administer the decedent's estate. Essentially, the executor will collect the estate's assets, pay debts, file the final tax returns, and distribute the remaining assets to rightful inheritors according to the decedent's wishes (provisions of the will) or Kentucky's intestate succession laws. 

During the probate and estate administration process, the executor or administrator performs various roles, including gathering and evaluating the decedent's property and assets, settling debts and taxes, and eventually transferring the remaining assets to the named beneficiaries and heirs. 

Qualifications to Serve as an Executor

To be eligible to serve as an executor in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, you must meet the following requirements: 

  • You must be at least 18 years old. 

  • You must be of sound mind (not deemed incapacitated by the court). 

  • You must be a citizen or resident of Kentucky unless you're related to the decedent by marriage, adoption, or blood. 

If you've been named as an executor, then the testator must have believed in your ability to settle their final affairs. An experienced attorney can determine whether you're eligible to serve as an executor and enlighten you about some of your duties and responsibilities. 

An Executor's Roles and Responsibilities

As an executor, you owe a fiduciary duty to the deceased person and their surviving loved ones. All your actions, duties, and responsibilities must be performed with the deceased person's best interests as a priority. In addition, the executor is expected to follow all applicable statutes and act diligently with the highest standards of ethics. Here are some of the roles and responsibilities of an executor: 

  • Gather all the decedent's vital documents and financial records. 

  • Present the will or file it with the probate court. 

  • Identify and evaluate the decedent's assets and debts. 

  • Inform close family members, relatives, friends, and other individuals with professional relationships about the loss. 

  • Take adequate care and make necessary provisions for the welfare of surviving family members. 

  • Cancel unnecessary monthly subscriptions and memberships. 

  • Recover all money owed to the estate. 

  • Handle creditor's claims and pay known or verified creditors. 

  • Notify the heirs and beneficiaries. 

  • Administer the estate. 

  • File estate taxes and the final tax returns. 

  • Protect the deceased person's assets, money, and property until they are transferred to the inheritors. 

  • Distribute the assets to rightful beneficiaries or heirs in accordance with the provisions of the estate plan or other applicable statutes. 

  • Work with an experienced estate administration attorney for detailed guidance. 

If you have been appointed as an executor of a deceased family member's estate, you need to reach out to a well-informed estate planning attorney immediately. Your lawyer can help you understand your financial, legal, and general responsibilities and help navigate crucial decisions at every step of the way. 

Compensation for Executor

According to a 2018 EstateExec survey, it takes an executor nearly 570 hours of effort or 16 months, on average, to settle an estate. As such, executors are often compensated from the estate for their time and effort dedicated to settling the estate. Under Kentucky law, executors may be entitled to a maximum compensation of 5% of the estate's value and income. 

Turn to Dependable Legal Help

Executors play a significant role in settling a decedent's estate and final affairs and distributing assets to inheritors. If you've been appointed as an executor, it is important that you understand your duties, rights, responsibilities, and limitations before you accept the role or start acting. A practiced estate planning attorney can offer you the proper guidance you need to make intelligent decisions. 

At Caleb Bland Law, PLLC, we are devoted to offering outstanding legal services and guiding clients in estate administration and probate-related matters. We can fully explain your role as an executor and draw up a well-detailed checklist to guide you through the estate settlement process. In addition, we will work together to manage court proceedings, settle taxes and debts, distribute assets to inheritors, and help resolve estate disputes.  

Contact us to schedule an initial consultation with a seasoned estate administration attorney. We can offer you the knowledgeable legal counsel and trusted advocacy you need to perform your responsibilities and duties as an executor. Our firm proudly serves clients throughout Elizabethtown, Louisville, Shepherdsville, Leitchfield, Radcliff, and Grayson County, Kentucky.