The Role of an Executor in the Estate Administration Process

Estate administration involves decisions that are made before someone dies. Individuals should have a will in place and other legal matters arranged to handle the distribution of their estate.

During this process, executors play a crucial role. Executors have specific responsibilities to carry out when the individual of an estate they are representing dies. Upon the individual’s death, the executor must file their will in the Register of Wills. The executor may do so in the county where the decedent resided, regardless of whether the will has to go through probate. If necessary, the personal representative may also have to file a petition for probate with the Orphans’ Court.

The executor is in charge of the finances involved for the estate. They may have to go through the estate’s finances to make sure there are no remaining debts or taxes that need to be paid. If there are, they may have to pay them off. The executor must also collect and distribute assets that are to be given to beneficiaries of the estate. By failing to do their tasks, a beneficiary can file a motion to have the executor removed from their position. If someone believes that the executor is not acting in the best interests of the estate, they can be removed as a result. Signs of corruption by the executor can be seen as an abuse of power of their role. This can lead individuals to believe they should be removed from having power over the estate. A judge can oversee this case and decide if the executor should be removed or not. They may decide to remove the individual from their role as executor and then appoint a new executor to carry out the responsibilities needed the complete the process. Although the executor of the estate can be named in the deceased’s will, they can be removed from the role and replaced if deemed necessary.

What is a beneficiary?

Beneficiaries do not have responsibilities to carry out as an executor does. There can be many beneficiaries as opposed to only one executor for an estate. A beneficiary collects possessions named to them in the deceased’s will. These assets may include a sentimental item or a piece of property. The beneficiary is oftentimes comforted, knowing they meant something to the deceased individual. Beneficiaries do not have to do much during the estate administration. However, if the executor is not fulfilling their duties, a beneficiary can file a motion with the court to reveal this. This can then lead the beneficiary to take on the role if the judge appoints them to that position.

Contact our experienced Maryland firm

The attorneys at JD Katz have years of experience compassionately guiding clients in Maryland through the estate planning and administration process. Our firm also has experience with matters of elder law, business law, tax law, and litigation. For a legal team that will put your needs first, contact JD Katz today.