As a Florida resident crafting your estate plan, you have probably already thought about the person you would like to name as your will’s executor. Estate administration decisions are among the most important that you can make during the estate planning process. Even though some people would consider being an executor as an honor or compliment, it is important to realize that the job can become time-consuming, even for attorneys and financial experts. You need to choose a trustworthy executor who is capable of preserving your final wishes.

If you are under consideration as an executor, you should know about the duties involved with the position. You first must manage the paperwork for the estate, providing information about wills, trusts, insurance policies and investments. Paperwork also includes birth and death certificates, along with other key vital records such as military service records and marriage certificates. Along with these responsibilities, you must inform key government agencies such as the Social Security Administration of the decedent’s passing. Copies of the death certificate must also be distributed to insurance agencies and other stakeholders.

You may also be required to hire an attorney or financial expert using estate resources to sort through tax issues related to the estate. You will also be given the legal right to pay off bills associated with the decedent’s estate, including outstanding credit card debts, utilities, medical bills and other debts. Finally, you will be responsible for managing beneficiaries’ claims to the estate, distributing material and financial assets to heirs and other interested parties.

As you can see, the duties of the executor extend from simply managing assets to dealing with major government agencies and tax demands. For those crafting their estate plans, the decision to name an executor should not come lightly. This person can either smooth or disrupt the execution of your will, depending upon his or her abilities and intent.

If you have questions about estate administration, consider seeking assistance from a qualified probate attorney. These professionals can help you learn more about your legal rights, allowing your assets to be distributed according to your plan.

Luis E. Barreto