Choosing the executor of your estate may run a close second.
After all, he or she will have a lot of responsibilities when executing your will and your final wishes according to Virginia estate law.
Naturally, you want to ensure this person is up to the task. But you also might feel a little foggy on what the executor of your estate will actually do.
To help you gain clarity on the role of your executor (and make an ideal choice!), here are 9 things the executor of your estate will do when you pass away.
#1 – Reviews Your Will and Makes the Necessary Notifications of Your Passing
The executor of your estate is tasked first and foremost with reviewing your will and notifying the necessary parties of your death. This includes:
- Notifying family members and loved ones
- Notifying anyone else who may be listed in your will
- Notifying your current employer
- Notifying the Virginia State Department of Health of your death if a funeral home, crematorium, hospital, or nursing facility has not.
- Notifying the Social Security Administration, the Department of Motor Vehicles, and other government agencies that should be informed
- Notifying your banking and financial institutions
#2 – Obtains Multiple Certified Copies of Your Death Certificate
Your executor will act as an administrator and obtain multiple copies of your death certificate from the funeral home, crematorium, or the Virginia Department of Health’s Vital Records office.
#3 – Locates Your Assets and Keeps Them Secure Until They Can Be Distributed
The executor of your Virginia estate will also be in charge of identifying and locating your assets and keeping them safe until they can be distributed. This includes:
- Securing your home
- Arranging for care for your dependents
- Arranging for care for your pets
- Setting up an estate bank account for your estate funds to kept safely and separate from his or her own until they are distributed
#4 – Determines the Appropriate Proceedings to Execute Your Will
Estate valued at $50,000 or higher in Virginia must by law pass through probate court. In this case, your executor will file your will and estate documents in your county or city’s Clerk’s Office of Circuit Court. Virginia has no separate probate court.
If your estate is valued at less than $50,000, your executor can file what’s called an out-of-court affidavit. This is a short legal document, signed under oath, that states all the beneficiaries entitled to your assets. Your executor can then use this document to secure the release of your assets after a 60-day waiting period.
#5 – Pays Outstanding Bills Owed by the Deceased Using Funds from the Estate
Your executor will continue to make regular payments on your assets using funds in your estate until it’s settled. This includes mortgage payments, insurance payments, property tax payments, credit card payments, auto loan payments, personal loan payments, and other necessary payments.
#6 – Files Final Federal and State Income Taxes for You
Your executor is in charge of filing your final Federal and state income taxes, submitting necessary payments, and claiming a refund (which will go into your estate). All income up to the date of your death must be reported and all credits and deductions to which your estate is entitled may be claimed. Your executor is also responsible for filing any outstanding income tax you have yet to file for the years preceding your death.
#7 – Distributes Property, Liquid Assets, and Non-Financial Assets According to Your Will
After filing your estate in Virginia’s Clerk’s Office of Circuit Court or filing an out-of-court affidavit, your executor will distribute your assets according to your will. This includes making arrangements to transfer real estate assets, cash, and non-financial assets to individuals listed in your will.
#8 – Closes Banking, Investment, Retirement, and Credit Card Accounts
Once all financial assets are distributed and outstanding credit card balances are paid from estate funds, your executor will arrange to have your financial accounts closed. This includes your checking and savings accounts, investment accounts, IRAs, 401Ks, any other retirement accounts, lines of credit, and your credit card accounts.
#9: Keeps Detailed Accounting Records for Your Estate
Throughout the process of handling your estate, your executor will be expected to keep detailed accounting records of all transactions pertaining to your estate. He or she may be required to submit this in probate court proceedings. Even without probate proceedings, this should still be a key responsibility of your executor to maintain transparency.
We Offer Affordable Will and Estate Documents in Virginia
Before the step of choosing your executor, you need a valid will and an estate plan. Our law firm makes this process easy and affordable with our simplified estate planning packages!
Reach out to us at (703) 938-3510 or contact us to get started on your Virginia estate plan.