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What are the duties of an executor of a will?

On Behalf of | Jun 12, 2023 | Estate Planning

People often agree to be the executor of a will in Illinois without really knowing what it means. They may understand the very basics of their duties, but most do not understand the probate process. People usually agree to be the executor because they are close with the decedent and may have an understanding of their financial situation.

Once people have passed away though, all of a sudden they have to take care of the administration of the estate. This needs to happen fairly quickly too as the will needs to be filed with the court within 30 days of people’s death.

After the will is filed with the court the probate process starts. One of the first requirements of the executor is to file a petition with the court asking to be named the executor of the estate.

Duties of executors of estates

Once people are officially named the executor by the court, they need to first determine the heirs and beneficiaries of the estate and notify them that the probate is open. They also need to publish notice in a newspaper to notify potential creditors of the death and probate matter. Creditors have six months to file claims against the estate.

The executor then needs to begin gathering all of the decedent’s assets and begin an accounting of them for the court. Executors are also responsible for paying creditors and paying any taxes owed by the estate. Eventually after debts and taxes are paid, the remaining assets need to be distributed to the beneficiaries named in the will.

Being the executor of an estate in Illinois can be a complicated process. It can also be time consuming, especially for people who do not understand the probate process and all of the responsibilities of an executor. That does not mean that executors are given time to learn everything though and their responsibilities start soon after a death. Executors may need to reach out for help to ensure that they are doing everything correctly.