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The role of executor in estate administration

8/13/2015 | Kaplin Stewart Blog

Most Pennsylvania residents are aware that drafting a will is one of the best ways to ensure that assets pass down to their intended heirs. Many are unclear, however, about the role that an  executor plays within the estate administration process, and how to make the right decision for that role. The following information is offered in the hopes of clarifying what will be expected of an executor, and what considerations should be made in selecting the best possible fit.

The executor of one’s will is responsible for filing the will to begin the probate process. From that point, he or she is expected to pay the debts held by the estate and also pay for any probate-related fees. It is important that the will enters into probate in a timely manner; failure to meet certain deadlines can cause the estate to pass as if there were no will in existence.

The executor is also responsible for the distribution of assets laid out within the will. As such, he or she will need to know where assets are located, and how to access those assets. Having a comprehensive list of all accounts, property and other holdings can make the job of executor far easier to manage.

When moving through the estate planning process, many Pennsylvania residents find that they do not have a good candidate for the job of executor. In such cases, a bank that has a designated trust department may offer a good fit. One’s estate planning attorney can also make suggestions to meet a client’s particular set of needs. No matter which option is chosen, having a trustworthy executor named within one’s will can go a long way toward achieving a smooth estate administration process.

Source:, “Experience and training make the difference in estate planning“, Aug. 9, 2015