Court Bonds

Executing A Will: Duties Explained



Creating a will is an important way to organize affairs and prevent loved ones from having excess stress when we die. At the time a will is made, a trusted individual is designated to serve as the executor who becomes responsible for carrying out our intentions. Executing a will is not a ceremonial duty. Here’s what’s involved.


Responsibilities of Executors

Though it is typical to designate close relatives for the role of executor, there is no law that dictates that an executor must be a relation. Most executors ultimately find themselves with lots to do, so it is wise to designate someone who understands the duties and can commit the time. Keep in mind that it is possible to designate a professional fiduciary. Here’s a helpful snapshot of the duties of executors:


After the death of the testator, the executor must file the last will with the probate court to be validated. Throughout the probate process, the executor must notify creditors and heirs, pay debts and taxes, and even appear in court on behalf of the estate….Because executors oversee the management and administration of the estate, finances of the estate are an essential aspect of the role.The executor must open a bank account for the estate to be used to pay debts and distribute assets to heirs.The executor should also prepare and file income tax and estate tax returns if necessary….If assets are left after paying taxes and debts from the estate, distributions must be made to heirs according to the terms of the last will.


While tackling their duties, executors must “work in the best interest of all beneficiaries without showing partiality,” because as fiduciaries, they are legally obligated to ensure the affairs of the estate are properly handled, in accordance with the terms of the will–and the law. Experts offer this wise advice for executors: “Being an executor requires a high level of organization, foresight, and attention to detail to meet responsibilities and ensure that all beneficiaries receive the accounts and property to which they are entitled.” It’s OK to lighten the load and get help from lawyers, financial advisors and public accountants. These expenses can be charged to the estate—and professional assistance can make all the difference in efficiently closing out the affairs of the estate.  


Even with smooth probate proceedings, it is likely to take some time—a year or so is fairly common—to finalize the affairs of the deceased. During this time, it’s critical for executors to keep communications flowing to beneficiaries, creditors, and the court. Silence can lead to misunderstandings, conflicts and even probate litigation. Ultimately, connecting the dots is one of the most important functions of an executor:


As an executor, you are the liaison between multiple parties involved in the probate process: the courts, the creditors, the Internal Revenue Service, the beneficiaries, and the heirs. Create and maintain an up-to-date list of everyone’s contact information. Also, retain records such as copies of correspondence or notes about phone calls you make as executor. Open and honest communication helps keep the process flowing smoothly and reduces the risk of disputes. It is worth repeating because it is so important: keep records of all communications, so you can always recall what was said to whom.

Executor Bonds?

Given their significant responsibilities, in most states, it’s typical for executors to “have bonds to ensure their trustworthy behavior in their roles. These bonds guarantee that all the estate debts will be satisfied and that the remaining assets will be properly distributed to the appropriate heirs.” Information about executor bonds, as well as help obtaining them is available at Colonial Surety Company:


Executor Bonds HERE.

Probate and Estate Law?

With a few clicks on The Partnership Account® for Attorneys, lawyers everywhere around the country can quickly help clients secure court and fiduciary bonds, on specific obligee required forms. 

Just select the bond needed, send it to your client for payment, and then download, e-file or print the bond. Our fiduciary bonds include: administrator, estate, executor, guardian, personal representative, probate, surrogate, trustee, conservator and the list goes on. Court bonds include: appeal, supersedeas, injunction, replevin, receiver and more. 

Easy, speedy court and fiduciary bonds here:

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