Actor Cory Monteith, well-known for playing heartthrob Finn Hudson in the popular TV series Glee, died unexpectedly in June of this year at only age 31. Little has been reported about the future of Mr. Monteith’s estate, estimated as being worth some $2 million. This tragedy underlines the importance of having a will in place. It is equally important that the will specifies a reliable executor (also called a personal representative) to be responsible for administering and managing the estate during the probate process.
The executor’s role
An executor manages the testator’s estate following the grant of probate by the court. An executor is accountable to the beneficiaries and the court for all of the estate’s assets, gains and losses, income and other receipts during administration, all funds paid out of estate funds and property distributed to creditors and beneficiaries.
The key functions of an executor
There are several key responsibilities that the executor undertakes, including:
- Arranging for the will and any other documents to be filed with the Surrogate’s court in a timely manner
- Locating and collecting the decedent’s assets passing under the will
- Identifying and paying off the decedent’s debts and funeral expenses
- Paying expenses associated with the ongoing administration of the estate until the administration is complete
- Paying taxes, including the decedent’s final income taxes, gift taxes and estate taxes. Note that income earned by the estate during the period of administration is also subject to income tax.
- Protecting the testator’s assets by investing and managing them properly until they can be distributed to the beneficiaries in accordance with the will
If you are named as an executor, contact a New York estate administration attorney to help you manage your legal duties and carry out the decedent’s wishes.