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By: Scott Grossman on September 15th, 2016

Responsibilities of Co-Executors During an Estate Administration

Probate is the court-supervised process of gathering, managing, and distributing the assets of a deceased person to the people who are supposed to inherit them. Probate is necessary when property cannot be transferred from the deceased person to a living person because the title is held in the name of the deceased person. 

Guide to Probate

When a loved one dies, one of the first steps that you may take to handle their affairs is to review the terms of their will. The will is the legal instrument that appoints someone to serve as executor or personal representative. That individual has the duty to carry out the estate administration process. In some cases, a will names two people to serve jointly as co-executors. Both named executors need to understand their responsibilities when administering the estate.

Ten Responsibilities of Co-Executors During an Estate Administration

What are the responsibilities of co-executors during this process? The following is an overview:

  1. Co-executors much each, in tandem, carry out the responsibilities and obligations of administering the probate estate.
  2. Typically, both executors must sign all checks.
  3. Both executors must sign the petition filed with the probate court.
  4. If real estate belonging to the estate is sold, both executors must sign the deed and other related paperwork.
  5. The two executors are responsible for handling the estate’s affairs, including gathering and managing the estate assets.
  6. Both executors are potentially liable if there is damage or loss of an asset that would have benefited the estate’s heirs.
  7. Each executor must sign the estate’s tax return and the final income tax return of the decedent.
  8. Co-executors are jointly responsible for paying the final debts of the decedent. This may include medical bills and funeral expenses.
  9. Each executor must monitor the other to ensure that the estate reaches completion properly and on time.
  10. If one executor is not fulfilling his or her duties, the other executor is subject to intervene by involving the probate court. Failing to do so could mean that both trustees are potentially personally liable for the mismanagement of the estate.


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