The Role and Responsibilities of an Executor Explained

it's brian preston the money guy what

are the obligations of being in an

executor for an estate is because you

just heard me go through that whole list

I just went through probably six to six

months worth of work in about four

minutes four and a half minutes it's not

as easy as it sounds because there's a

lot of steps there so you need to

understand if somebody asks you to be

the executor of their estate what are

you getting yourself into you know so I

wanted to kind of give what's the bow

give them kind of what is the legal

definition of what an executor or

executrix is doing - yes the estate when

you when you uh when you fill out your

will when you put that document to place

your naming hey this is the person who I

want to make sure is gonna see that all

of my wishes outlined here are in fact

met they're the person responsible for

legally making sure that everything

named in the will is handled according

to the way that the decedent wanted them

to be handling that means distributing

the property arranging for payment of

debts and making sure that taxes are

paid they're essentially the the CFO of

settling it all out they're the one who

legally has to do that and what we find

most often is that you would think okay

well if I'll have to do is do what the

will says then I just follow down a list

and it's done usually the

responsibilities of executor are a

little heavier than that and they go

beyond just what is laid out in the

world well if you go back through that

list of all the things that happened

there's a lot of things like we're

dealing with beneficiary designations

life insurance those things don't have

anything to do with the will but you

being the person that was put in charge

of this estate you're probably also

associated you're probably a relative or

a friend you're going to want to be

involved in that stuff so pay attention

that's why I want to kind of talk about

what's the things the hardships or just

the downsides are just knowing going in

this thing with your eyes completely

open you need to pay attention to and

some of the the things we see people

mistakes we see people make before I

kind of go through that one of the

things I want to you're probably hearing

all this and you're thinking we'll gosh

for my own estate you need to go ahead

and make sure that you have really

vetted if you want to make sure that you

don't create a problem for your

beneficiaries your heirs think give a

lot of thought on who you

want to be your executor and might I

suggest also ask them make sure they've

got a how is that because they could say

no right and that's not a situation you

want to be in and you want to be the

person that's so organized this is the

other thing I you know I want to add for

making sure you don't have these that

you so organized that you tell them this

go be easily accessible I'm going to

show you my you know if I Pat when I

pass away my net worth statement will be

easily accessible my will will be in

this location and you should know where

it is because that's that's a big part

of it do these things and it's going to

make it better so if somebody asks you

to be an executor you need to say look

are you comfortable sharing with me

maybe on an annual basis or every other

year basis a net worth statement a tax

return and are you willing to kind of

tell me where the Wills are going to be

and if they're willing to do that stuff

I think it's okay because you just

wanted us it sets you up for knowing

what's going on in this estate because

if they think enough of you to ask you

that means they have a lot of respect

for you just need to make sure you go

into this to do a good job and it's set

up for success so here are some of the

pitfalls that we think you ought to

avoid as you go through this and the

first one you have mentioned here Brian

we see it all the time

co-executor 'he's too many cooks in the

kitchen I mean look this is we all love

our children you love your children but

let's face it they're not all created

equal when it comes to money mm-hmm some

are good with money some are not good

with money

some might live it might not even have

anything to do with money somebody might

be living out of state yep the other

ones close by and unfortunately when

you're dealing with the executor

sometimes financial institutions will

want all executor --zz to sign off on

the document so if you got am 11 in

multiple states all over the place or

you have six kids and of varying degrees

of aptitude you could be creating a

complete nightmare for already a hard

time that there's going to be some some

budding heads of the siblings anyway so

be very careful of creating co-executor

just because you don't want to make the

hard decision while you're alive it is

and here's the thing it's not about

playing favorites just because you

because we see this on Thomas oh well

well I name this person the executor but

that's only because I asked this person

help with this

you don't want to get into it it's not

about playing favorites it's a job it's

a duty it's a responsibility you want to

ask the person that you feel is the most

qualified to successfully fulfill that

role and carry out that response and you

don't want to create a legacy of

conflict that's right I mean that breaks

your heart to know that something that

was done you know that maybe you could

have done it a little better so your

kids didn't fight after you passed away

you broke the family apart

so let's create our situation sometimes

an executor or the person who's

designing the estate document they don't

realize they're actually creating a

situation that could lead to fights

between the heirs and beneficiaries and

unfortunately if you are the executor

you're going to be the one that has to

sort through this chaos so but so let's

talk about this and I'm already kind of

alluded to this because I've seen this

happen so many times is that remember

when I went through my checklist of what

happens when a loved one passes away the

last thing on that checklist was

beneficiaries get to start ere start

taking distributions are getting assets

you have to pay the bills you have to

get the expenses you have to get the

accounts set up there's a lot of steps

that take place but what typically

happens after a loved one passes away is

everybody runs over to mama and Papa's

house and starts taking the sentimental

stuff but not the furniture just

disappear it's gone that is you want to

know what people go fight about after

you're passed away it is that

sentimental stuff so here's what the

solution on that is and if you're asked

to be an executor ask the person to do

this for you write a letter that kind of

details all the sin of the perceived

sentimental stuff and what your wishes

are you will that equips the executor so

they can sort through this conflict but

it also will let your heirs know what

your desires were so there's no

surprises and it also kind of just it

will defuse a horrible situation I think

that would be tremendous if you think

about that and then here's the other


what about because there's gonna come a

point you have cash we've got real

property you've got other things that

maybe aren't liquid maybe it's art maybe

it's guns I don't know there's all kind

of different things people owned there's

gonna come a point where you have to now

distribute this stuff out as the

executor and somebody might

with the cash somebody might want the

real property there's gonna be a weird

mix eclectic mix of how these things get

divvied out you need to understand that

as the executor you're in charge what

tell the Schottenstein mix and trying to

make it as you know efficient as

possible without creating a lot of

conflict now the good news is as an

executor in a lot of situations you

don't have to do it on your own well

ultimately the buck stops with you there

are financial professionals out there

they can help you navigate this you know

one that immediately comes to mind is

like a CPA you can actually talk to the

decedent's account and say hey I'm

trying to understand what mom or dad or

uncle Joe had going on can you help me

walk through this can you help me do

this and odds are they are gonna be

willing to help but just know that

that's probably gonna come with a cost

yeah I definitely think you know look

you can delegate good delegation is is

important talk to the the person that

created the estate document the attorney

will hopefully be able to help you

through some of that probate process as

well as what the desire and intention

was when the the will was designed and

then exactly what Bo said the the CPA

who does the annual tax returns or maybe

helped out with the family they're going

to have some insight for you and then

here's the most value the MVP of your

estate plan of distributing assets is

going to be if they have a good

comprehensive financial planner that I

was kind of serving as quarterback

because the good financial planner is

going to know who the CPA is they're

going to have dealt with the attorney

and they're probably going to know the

intentions of the loved one that's

passed away so if you've got a great

situation looking this is self-serving

in some ways but I will tell you I bet I

think a lot of our clients if you ask

them what's the reason that you're going

to be with a pound wealth and Brian and

Beau for me it's because we got you

through these dark dark times of when

someone passes away you've already

you're dealing with a lot of emotional

stuff and then you have to stack on top

of that you have to deal with all this

analytical financial stuff a good

financial adviser is going to help you

sort through that stuff so it's not just

all going through mud and drudging

through the worst part of it you'll have

a team you know somebody who's doing

this with you and getting you through it

you know the other thing I think that's

really important to mention and one of

the reasons why you might want to seeks

council and some hell for this is as the

executor you directly you individually

can be held personally liable so if you

distribute money to heirs before paying

taxes guess who the government's gonna

come looking for in terms of who is

responsible for settling that estate or

if after you pay the heirs have you

double checked to make sure that all the

other creditors have been paid because

if they haven't again that

responsibility lies on you so you just

want to make sure that you measure two

and three times bring in professionals

so that you don't allow this thing that

you're supposed to help a loved one

ultimately negatively impact your

financial situation honor or this

continued you don't want to pay somebody

back for a legacy of being good to you

or maybe it's a good parent but it can

turn into something bad