Meridian Star


September 8, 2013

Should you serve as an executor?

MERIDIAN — Before agreeing to serve as an executor of someone’s estate, carefully consider the requirements and ramifications. Your duties could include any or all of the following:

    · Accounting for assets and liabilities. You’ll need to locate and list everything the decedent owned, whether tangible (real estate and personal property) or intangible (bank accounts and investments). You’ll also be expected to identify and quantify each of the decedent’s debts.

    · Determining whether probate proceedings are needed and, if so, petitioning the court.

    · Locating (and sometimes identifying) heirs.

    · Determining who inherits what, according to the will or according to state law if the will is ambiguous, invalid, or nonexistent.

    · Administering the estate, including notifying financial institutions, creditors, and government agencies of the death, terminating leases and credit cards, setting up estate bank accounts, managing the decedent’s property, liquidating assets as needed, and paying applicable expenses and debts.

    · Filing the decedent’s final income tax returns (from the beginning of the year to the date of death) and any additional returns required for the estate as a separate entity.

    · Distributing the remaining assets to the people and/or organizations named in the will or otherwise entitled to inherit under state law.

    As an executor, you’ll have a fiduciary duty to act honestly, diligently, and with good faith, and the law will hold you to these standards. Your duties will be time-consuming and may include unpleasant interactions with disgruntled heirs. You’ll almost certainly need to hire an accountant and an attorney to provide advice and prepare the necessary returns and filings.

    Before accepting an executorship, ask to review the will, preferably with the attorney who prepared it. If your alarm bells continue to ring, consider tactfully declining the appointment.

David Compton is a Certified Public Accountant with offices in Meridian and Birmingham, Ala.

Text Only
Biz Marquee
New Today

On Tuesday, Gov. Phil Bryant signed the first pay raise for all teachers in the state since 2007. Do you think the pay raise was needed?

     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter New Yorkers Celebrate Cherry Blossom Blooms SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Justice Dept. Broadening Criteria for Clemency Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers 'Miss Meadows' Takes Holmes Back to Her Roots Biden: Russia Must Stop Talking, Start Acting David Moyes Out As Manchester United Manager Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet Stowaway Teen Forces Review of Airport Security
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide