Personal Finance Aug 27, 2015 05:12 AM EDT

Get help from a trusted executor during estate planning

By Staff Writer

To make sure that your estate doesn't get a hitch, it is best to hire the right representative, also called an executor.

Basically, an executor should protect the property of a diseased person until all the taxes and debts are paid. The executor should also make sure that whatever is left is passed on to the rightful heirs. The executor does not necessarily have to be a financial or legal expert.

The most important attributes an executor should have are diligence, impartiality, and most of all, honesty. The executor should function with "fiduciary duty," which is the duty to act with impeccable good faith and honesty as he or she represents someone else.

An executor usually is a family member, or a financial institution, like a trust or a bank.

To learn more, it would be best to dissect the specific responsibilities of an executor.

First, the executor should locate and collect the deceased person's assets, and is responsible for them until the ownership is transferred to the rightful beneficiaries.

Another responsibility of an executor is to pay the funeral expenses of the deceased person, as well as the debts and administration expenses of the estate. 

Handling tax matters is an important part of an executor's duties. He or she should file the final income tax returns of the decedent and pay the income taxes. The executor should file the income tax returns of the estate and pay its income taxes, as well as filing and paying for the tax returns of the estate. 

Finally, the executor should distribute the remaining assets according to the terms of the will that the decedent left.

How much does an executor make?

The executor is paid a fee, usually based on a percentage of the value of the decedent's estate. This is usually from 1 to 5 percent, depending on how big the estate is.

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