New York law allows any adult who is of sound mind to serve as the executor of an estate. Therefore, your parents are perfectly within their rights to appoint you in their wills as their estate representative. When one of them dies, you will be responsible for ensuring that the probate process is completed in a proper and timely manner.
What an executor does
There are a number of tasks that you must complete such as inventorying assets, opening a bank account for the estate and filing a final tax return. You’ll also need to let creditors know that your parent has passed away and make arrangements to pay any balances owed using estate funds. If the estate doesn’t have sufficient funds to pay what is owed, the creditor will be required to take a loss. You will also be responsible for evaluating any claims made by creditors against the estate.
Act in good faith
An executor has a fiduciary responsibility toward the estate. This means that you must make decisions that are in its best interest even if it conflicts with what you or others want. For instance, you can’t decide to give money to your sibling because you feel that it’s a waste to give it to charity as instructed in the will. Furthermore, you can’t distribute assets until after a probate judge allows you to do so. If assets are distributed too early, you may be held liable for any financial or other issues doing so might cause.
Staying organized may be the most effective way to ensure that your loved one’s wishes are carried out in a timely manner. The state may have resources that you can use to ensure that you stay on top of your obligations as an estate representative.