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What You Need to Know as an Executor

Part of writing a will is choosing an executor, the person who oversees the estate settlement process. Perhaps you are or have been the executor for a loved one's estate. It's an important job. Be sure you know what you've signed up for and who should fill the job for you.

As an executor, these are your main responsibilities:

  • Notify all interested parties and agencies of your loved one's passing.
  • Hire an attorney, at the expense of the estate, to guide you through the probate process, if necessary.
  • Locate the will and file it in court.
  • Notify the beneficiaries named in the will.
  • Inventory all assets and have them appraised, if necessary.
  • Collect all debts owed to the estate.
  • Pay valid claims against the estate.
  • File tax returns.
  • Distribute assets and obtain receipts from the beneficiaries.
  • File papers to finalize the estate.

How to Select an Executor for Your Estate

Part of your own will planning process is selecting the person you'd like to fill this critical role. The best person for the job? You should pick someone responsible, organized, and trustworthy. Common choices are a spouse, an adult child, a sibling, or a close friend. The most important consideration is whether the person can handle the various responsibilities of administering your estate.

Talk with the person you're considering, and make sure she or he is willing to accept the responsibilities. Part of your discussion should include your values and philanthropic vision so your executor knows what is important to you.

If you don't have a friend or relative you trust to complete these duties, or you don’t want to burden them, don't worry. You can name an attorney, bank, or trust company to settle your estate for a fee. Many banks have expertise administering estates, especially larger estates.

Quick tip: It's a good idea to select a backup executor in case your chosen executor becomes unavailable.

Need Help?

If you have questions or need help with your estate plans, please contact Eric Bruntmyer, President, or one of our development officers at (325) 670-1260 or We'd be happy to help and can show you how you can extend your support of HSU through your will.

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