Articles for Financial Advisors



The executor is responsible for arranging probate and supervising the transfer of the will property to the beneficiaries. This may be simple or complicated. Locating the property may not be easy. More commonly, distributing property can become difficult. If a will writer leaves general instructions to divide property—such as heirlooms or photos—between beneficiaries, the executor may become embroiled in personal dramas.

The executor should be a person your client trusts and someone willing to do the job. If the client also has a living trust, it is usually best the successor trustee and executor be the same person. The client can name co-executors, or even several executors, if there is good reason for it. There can be compelling reasons—family harmony is one common example—for selecting more than one executor. If the estate has estate (or inheritance) tax liability, the executor is responsible for filing a federal and/or state estate tax return, if required. Such forms are complicated and the executor will usually hire an expert to do the work.

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