What is an Executor?
When you prepare a will, you need to name someone whom you can trust as an Executor. They will handle the affairs of your estate once you pass away, which may include paying for a funeral and administration expenses, paying bills, and making sure that your house or apartment does not fall into disrepair.
Many people commonly name both or all children as co-executors. This may or may not be a good idea, especially if some of the children live outside of New York State. In addition, children as co-executors may not get along well. The job of an Executor can be tedious and complicated, which can create conflict between executors and imagine if they live in separate states without easy access if a document needs to be signed.
What is the difference between an Executor and Trustee?
If you are appointed as an Executor your job begins once the person has passed away. Your responsibilities may include securing money, paying bills and taxes, handling other expenses and dispersing assets. This process may take months or even years depending on the complexity of the estate.
If you are appointed as a Trustee, you will have similar fiduciary responsibilities. You may handle such responsibilities over a long period of time. As a Trustee, you may serve during the trust-holder's lifetime or after that person has died.
To become an Executor in New York you have to be appointed by a surrogate's court of the county where the person resided at the time of death. So, for example, if the person resided in Manhattan you will have to submit the original will with the original death certificate and funeral bills to the New York County Surrogate's Court. In New York City each borough (county) has its own surrogate's court. Filing fees depend on the value of the estate and are listed on the court's website. There may be other documents required and we can help you determine what is required and prepare for submission to the court.
Contact our experienced attorneys to help you with the process of probating a will or handling the responsibilities of an Executor or Trustee.