Responsibilities as a newly appointed executor

Responsibilities as a newly appointed executor

On Behalf of | Nov 9, 2023 | Estate Planning

The executor of a last will and testament holds an honored position that comes with many responsibilities. In New York state, the named executor is responsible for carrying out the wishes outlined in the will. When the will belonged to your parent, there is an added layer of difficult emotions to navigate. Carrying out an estate plan is often a long process. It’s important to take each step slowly and thoroughly as you move through the process.

What an executor does

It is the executor’s responsibility to maintain the estate after a person passes. Then, the executor manages the will. This includes tasks like gathering every document associated with the deceased person’s estate plan. This will include the will, as well as any documentation for trusts, bank account information, social security paperwork, credit card information, other financial information, and insurance paperwork.

It is the executor’s job to thoroughly research the debts the estate owes. After prioritizing the debts, the executor distributes the estate’s assets to the beneficiaries.


Probate is a legal process that includes proving a will is a legitimate document and then carrying out the person’s last wishes according to the will’s specifications. In some cases, probate is avoidable. This happens when the parent set up a trust, like a living trust. If the entirety of the parent’s estate is in the living trust, probate is sometimes avoidable. In this scenario, the person appointed the trust’s successor trustee is responsible for distributing the assets according to the trust agreement.

The first step is to notify the probate court and file the will. Then, the executor will notify the Social Security Administration, credit card companies, banks, and other financial institutions.

As the executor moves forward, the focus is on gathering documents, paying debts, and distributing assets. Throughout this process, the executor is responsible for maintaining any of their parent’s assets, like property. For a simple estate, the probate process may take a few months. In some cases, the probate process can take years. It’s important to be thorough and take the process one step at a time.