As most children become adults in Maryland, they deal with the challenges of aging parents. One situation that can arise during this time is learning that one or both of your parents named you as their executor. Unless you work in the estate planning industry, it’s understandable to feel confused about an executor’s duties.
A part of being a will’s executor is understanding your state’s requirements. For instance, in Maryland, all wills must go through probate court. A typical exception to this rule is if one or both of your parents have assets stored in living trusts.
Taking inventory of assets
Whether managing one or both of your parent’s wills, asset inventory is a critical step as an executor. This step requires finding and accessing your parents’ financial accounts, investments, properties and any other will-related assets. You’ll also need to create an inventory of your parents’ debts.
Settling debts and taxes
An executor must also settle taxes and debts on an estate’s behalf. Having a clear idea of your parent’s accounts and assets can help make this step easier to complete. These debts can include but aren’t limited to utility bills, mortgages, property taxes and credit card accounts.
Distributing assets to beneficiaries
Typically, you must settle an estate’s debts before distributing assets to beneficiaries. A well-made will should detail how your parents want their assets distributed. If a will doesn’t specify this information, refer to Maryland’s state guidelines. Intestate succession rules depend on surviving spouses and family members.
Being an executor can be an emotionally and mentally draining process. However, carrying out the duties of your parents’ wills can bring them peace of mind.