New York residents who are preparing their wills or who have learned that they have been named executors under an existing one may wonder what is involved in being an executor and what responsibilities the position has. The duty of an executor is to gather assets, pay off debts and distribute assets to the beneficiaries.
The executor’s duties can be broken up into a number of smaller steps. The executor must first locate the assets and may need to make decisions about which ones to keep or sell. An executor may also need to find out whether it will be necessary to probate the will.
Next, the executor must locate all heirs and file the will in court as appropriate. The executor is also responsible for taking care of the affairs of the testator, and this may include everything from contacting the bank to the Social Security Administration and more. It may be necessary to continue paying some bills such as insurance on property, so the executor may need to establish a bank account for the estate. Debts, creditors and final income taxes must be paid. In some circumstances, a person may have to administer an estate when there is no will . In such a case, or if there is a will but also property that is not included in the will, the administrator must follow state law for its distribution.
Being an executor can be complicated, and a person who is appointed as one may not have a legal or financial background. In such a case, the executor may wish to work with an estate administration attorney. This may be particularly helpful if the estate is a complex one and if there are a number of financial and legal decisions to be made.
The court that will have jurisdiction over trust matters does not depend on where the testator of a will creating the trust was domiciled. Similarly, a lifetime trust does not depend on the domicile of the grantor if the contained real property and assets exist in New York.
When a trustee administers an estate, he or she will be responsible for paying the taxes, investing the assets wisely and distributing income and assets to the intended trust beneficiaries. New York’s trust laws make it clear that, for tax purposes, New York will consider the assets that are administered in New York and that exist in New York are subject to the local court’s jurisdiction.
The law also allows a surrogate court to act on behalf of the court having jurisdiction. For example, if a piece of real property exists in one county in New York and is owned by the trust, another county from where the administrator is working may operate as a surrogate for the court that does have jurisdiction. This is done to allow a uniform resolution of any litigation, assessments of taxes and monitoring of the administration of the trust.
Trust administration can be highly complicated, especially when the testator or grantor was domiciled in a different state or has assets owned by the trust within and outside of New York. To make certain the laws are carefully followed, people should be careful in their selection of a trustee to administer the estate. People may also want to discuss their options with an estate planning attorney. An attorney might be able to help his or her clients choose the best type of trust designed to meet their clients’ individual estate planning needs .
A fiduciary is a person who is responsible for administering the estate of a deceased person. Depending on the circumstances, some fiduciaries will be referred to as executors, and some will be called administrators. An executor is a person who was named specifically in the deceased person’s will as the individual who would be charged with managing the estate. When a person dies who had no will, the court will appoint an individual to be the estate administrator.
Fiduciaries are responsible for collecting all of the deceased person’s assets and ensuring that they are distributed to the proper individuals. Payment of any debts or obligations owed by the deceased person must also be completed as long as the estate has adequate funds to do so.
A fiduciary is also responsible for filing any tax forms that are required for the estate. The decedent’s final state and federal income tax returns might need to be filed along with an estate tax return and a fiduciary income tax return. While managing the estate, a fiduciary may have to open a checking account on behalf of the estate to collect any funds that need to be kept apart from other funds.
While performing the obligations of a fiduciary, it is important that an individual maintain careful and accurate records. After being appointed to a fiduciary position, a person with very little experience dealing with financial matters may feel overwhelmed by the tasks. An attorney might be able to assist someone with their fiduciary responsibilities and help ensure that the estate is managed properly. Because every estate involves its own unique variables, the information in this blog is not comparable to personalized legal counsel.
Source: NYCourts.gov, ” Fiduciary Responsibilities “, October 19, 2014