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Heritage Tree LogoWhat Are My Responsibilities as Executor?

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Whether it be your spouse or your parent composing their estate plan, they may eventually approach you to ask your willingness to serve as the executor of their last will and testament. This is a big ask and your response to it should be thought out wholeheartedly. Continue reading to learn your responsibilities as an executor and how an experienced Butler County will preparation attorney at Heritage Elder Law & Estate Planning, LLC can help you uphold them to the best of your ability.

What are my responsibilities as an executor of a will?

Generally speaking, an executor is an individual who is appointed to ensure a last will and testament is followed per the testator’s best wishes. More specifically speaking, your responsibilities as an executor may extend into the following areas:

  • You may be expected to account for all the assets and liabilities making up the estate to establish its estimated value.
  • You may be expected to pay off any outstanding debts and taxes the testator has left behind in their estate.
  • You may be expected to communicate with the testator’s beneficiaries and administer their inheritances appropriately.
  • You may be expected to maintain detailed records and receipts of all your financial handling to share with the testator’s beneficiaries.
  • You may be expected to coordinate funeral and burial services in the exact way the testator wished for.

What happens if I no longer want these responsibilities?

You may have done your homework and understood exactly what you were signing up for when you agreed to serve as the executor of your loved one’s last will and testament. However, your circumstances may have changed since. For example, you may have grown mentally or physically incapacitated, you may have moved far away geographically; you may have strained relationships with certain beneficiaries; or otherwise. With this, you may be no longer able or willing to take on these responsibilities.

It would help if the testator named an alternate or “backup” executor in their will. But if not, other ways you may relieve yourself of these responsibilities are as follows:

  • You may ask the testator to update their will to disclose a new primary executor or add an alternative executor.
  • You may have to file a formal, written renunciation with the Pennsylvania probate court.
  • You may expect the beneficiaries to file a petition with the Pennsylvania probate court to have you removed.
  • You may expect the Pennsylvania probate court to intervene and appoint an administrator to carry out the estate.

In a way, the best thing you can do to help yourself is to let one of the skilled Butler County estate planning & probate attorneys help you. So please, whenever you are ready, reach out to us at Heritage Elder Law & Estate Planning, LLC.

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