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Typical functions of a will executor

An executor is an individual named in a testator's will who is charged with taking care of any legal and financial responsibilities that the deceased individual needs to settle. This can include paying any outstanding taxes for the testator's estate, settling any debts for the estate and selling off any property that is required. Because of the personal nature of this type of activity, an executor is usually either a close family relative or a close family friend of the testator.

The executor must also settle any other aspect of the testator's estate that needs to be finalized. This can cover topics such as appearing in court on behalf of the estate, maintaining any property that is part of the estate until it is liquidated and allocating any assets according to the testator's will.

Anyone who has been named as an executor does not have to accept the responsibility that goes with it, but can decline the request. An executor can also resign their responsibilities at any time. That is why testators frequently nominate alternate executors in their will.

Although most executors do not accept any financial remuneration for their services because of their love and affection for the deceased, they are entitled to a percentage of the estate if they desire. According to Florida statute 733.617, the commission for the executor is 3 percent of the estate's value up to $1 million. For estates that are valued over $1.5 million and up to $5 million, the executor is then entitled to 2.5 percent of the estate's value. If the estate's value is more than this, the executor receives a smaller percentage of this extra value.

Naming an executor should help put the mind of the testator at ease. But a Florida resident, who wants to draw up estate documents, including a will that names an executor, may want to speak to an estate planning attorney in order to get a better understanding of their potential choices.

Source: estate.findlaw.com, "Will executor duties FAQ", Accessed October 9, 2016

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