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Estate Executors: What are the Real Responsibilities?

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Estate Executors: What are the Real Responsibilities?

Written by Charles Newland on . Posted in Probate and Estate Planning

Cutting a house model, Probate LawyerWhile many consider it an honor, being named the executor of an estate in Illinois can be extraordinarily challenging. Taking on new administrative responsibilities after dealing with a loss is tough, even in the best of circumstances. Add legal responsibilities and family struggles into the mix, and it is easy to see how an estate executor could become overwhelmed.

After someone dies, all property associated with their estate must be distributed. In Illinois, this involves more than collecting and distributing their funds and property. It also means paying their debts and sometimes dealing with complex financial transactions. This process can be directed by a valid will, or, in the absence of a will, by Illinois inheritance laws.

The Key Responsibilities of an Estate Executor

In some cases, an executor is not aware that they have been named until after the death. After funeral arrangements have been made, a will should be reviewed and the identity of the executor determined. Wills should be recorded with the county within a 30 day period. Due to the deadlines and responsibilities that must be adhered to, it is advisable that the executor contact an Illinois probate attorney as soon as possible.

Managing the Finances of an Estate

Financial management of an estate in Illinois can be tricky. Many executors start by reviewing recent tax returns and financial documents. This will provide an overview of the basics, but finances become more convoluted when things like funeral costs, medical bills, credit cards, mortgages and unpaid loans are factored in. Executors often find themselves reviewing the details of retirement accounts and bank statements.

The administrative process requires some additional legwork. When a person dies, their Social Security number can no longer be used, so the executor must file for an EIN number for the estate. Depending on the wording of the will, an estate executor can also find themselves tied up in troublesome property disputes or arduous real estate transactions.

Executing an estate is a major undertaking and it is important that estate executors in Illinois understand the scope of their responsibilities before agreeing to take on the task. Beyond making financial determinations, executors are often called upon to maintain property until it is sold, mediate disputes between family and associates and prepare complex financial and tax paperwork.

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