• Gentle Passage Doula Collective

Duties of the Executor of Estate & Successor Trustee

Learn about the duties of an Executor of Estate & Successor Trustee.

With Estate Planning, having a person in charge to manage and communicate the steps to the beneficiaries, is more than just an honor, it’s a job. This person has very specific duties to take care of, which are outlined in the designed trust. This job can last over a year, some two or three depending on the estate and based on the Federal and State legal requirements. That being said, there are many tasks to do when managing this and it’s important to know to better support who you choose as your Executor or Successor Trustee. It’s also incredibly important to have at least one conversation going over the trust with the Executor or Successor Trustee to better guide them and provide additional input of your wishes. Usually, the Executor or Successor Trustee is the Durable Power of Attorney, which can be also split into two roles, financial or medical. If there are two people filling in these roles and they are different from the Executor or Successor Trustee, the DPOA will take priority in case that the Trustee is medically incapacitated.

It’s also helpful in providing some support to your Executor/Successor Trustee such as grief counseling, a set number of hours with your lawyer (or money set aside to pay attorney fees) or other specific support to help them after you have passed, (such as no fees, but expenses paid for Executor/Successor Trustee for travel arrangements, no out of pocket expenses, arrangement already negotiated with estate attorney, etc.). This can help to more effectively distribute and manage your trust, settle your debts and file your taxes, and communicate to beneficiaries, companies and agencies such as the cable guy or even your long lost cousin, who may or may not be waiting for a handout. So again, having a trust, can better support your wishes as well as Executor/Successor Trustee, because you’ve written out your love letter of all your things and distributed it as you see fit.

Managing and communicating the steps to beneficiaries is more than an honor, it's a job.

With this, Gentle Passage Doula Collective (GPDC) is providing information only, it is not legal advice. GPDC recommends that you seek legal advice through an estate attorney, legal shield and /or legal zoom, to name a few, as they can guide you for the best fit in your situation.

We’ve outlined some of the duties to help you better understand what these roles include, but it is not limited to other duties. With that, it is also imperative that this person has really good record keeping skills. It can make this process smooth, efficient and help everyone out in the end. Because, in the end, what really matters is that we are all supported and loved.

Executor of Estate & Successor of Trustee

  • Review Will or Trust

  • Obtain Death Certificate

  • Notify Necessary Business & Organizations of Death - (cancel newspapers, magazines, subscriptions, cable, internet, phone, cell phone companies, contact and manage post office, email, social media outlets, websites, etc.)

  • Plan & Manage the Funeral

  • File with Probate Court, if necessary

  • Assemble & Inventory of Assets in Will/Trust (Attorney can help if Probate is necessary)

  • Manage & Value Estate & Assets

  • Inventory of safe deposit box(es), storage unit(s), vehicle(s), property(ies)

  • Life insurance policies, annuities, retirement accounts

  • Review Business Agreements (contracts, stock certificates, partnership agreements, etc.)

  • Obtain Appraisals (artwork, collectibles, antiques, cars, boats, RV’s, etc., check to see if these were specific bequest, if not and no beneficiary want them, liquidate)

  • Determine & Pay Debts, Bills, Credit Cards

  • Cancel Memberships

  • Animals

  • File Federal & State Taxes

  • Sell Estate & Assets

  • Administer the Trust (must be administered exactly as specified within the trust, your job is to ensure this happens, unemotional, communicate honestly and stick to the outlined trust)

As you can see, these duties are quite substantial and require a lot of work. This role is a job and it can be quite an investment in time, energy and communicating to several companies and people. The trustee has put a specific person in charge of managing both assets and debts and some trustees provide a fee to the Executor/Successor Trustee. It’s ultimately up to the Trustee, but as you can see, this job is big and having it written out is best done with the care and addition of compassion, legal support and guidance.

GPDC can help you and your loved ones hold meetings, conversations with each other and be an emotional support to you. We are not providing legal advice, but offering information. GPDC recommends seeking an estate attorney, legal shield and/or legal zoom for all legal advice. Please reach out to us to start the process, review and/or be present for any family meetings


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The tools, resources and information do not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only, not advice or guarantee of outcome. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the Gentle Passage Doula Collective Website, downloaded resources and/or educational material, or misinterpreted the information/context/educational sessions. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911. Gentle Passage Doula Collective and its members are not responsible for errors and omissions in reporting or explanation. No individuals, including those under our active care, should use the information, resources or tools contained within to self-diagnosis or self-treat any health-related condition. Gentle Passage Doula Collective gives no assurance or warranty regarding the accuracy, timeliness or applicability or the content.