Your legal personal representative or executor, appointed either by you through the creation of your will or through the court, is responsible for finding and then overseeing all of the assets inside your estate. This includes many different important steps, meaning that being an executor is a big responsibility.
Some of the assets that need to be assessed during probate include retirement accounts, stocks and bonds, bank accounts, jewelry, real estate property, and other items of value. It’s important to recognize that not all assets owned by you will necessarily pass through probate. The executor is responsible for paying off any debts or taxes owed by the deceased from the estate, usually by selling the assets that will not directly pass to someone else.
In these circumstances, remaining funds are then to be distributed to beneficiaries. Finally, the executor has the responsibility for filing the personal income tax returns on behalf of the deceased. This can only occur after the full estate inventory has been taken, the value of assets completely calculated, and all taxes and debt paid off. This is the point at which your executor can then seek authorization from the court to distribute whatever remains of the estate to beneficiaries.
It’s important to choose a person who is comfortable serving in this role and is well aware of the responsibilities that it entails. Make sure that your NH executor is legally eligible to hold this position and that you have discussed this responsibility directly with them. You do not want an executor who is caught off guard by being asked to serve in your estate or finds out they have been appointed after the fact.
Are you missing a will in your estate plan? Reach out to our estate planning law firm in NH to get support.