J. Kelly Kennedy, Attorney/CPA, PLLC

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What are the responsibilities of the executor of a trust?

Floridians may find themselves named as the executor of a trust. But, even if this was planned, they may still have questions about just what an executor is their responsibilities.

In terms of a trust, an executor is the person who has been named to make sure a person's last wishes are granted. This means that the deceased person's property and possessions in the trust are disposed of in a way the deceased person intended.

Trusts can be set up with a person's property for when they are deceased, or when they are still alive. There are many benefits to trusts, some of them are tax benefits and other times, it is the peace of mind that assets are going to be allocated appropriately. Trusts can be written to carry out specific goals and duties. An executor of the trust has the responsibility to oversee that these duties and goals are carried out in ways that the trust deems appropriate.

The executor is not the owner of the trust, generally, an executor is granted a fee for overseeing that the trust is allocated and managed appropriately. It is similar to being the manager of a company. While the executor does not own the company, they are paid a sum to ensure that the company is run smoothly and according to company goals and plans. It is without saying that the executor's decisions about a trust should be made in "good faith" to the goals and plans for the trust. This is what is known as an executor's fiduciary duty in trust administration.

It is a huge honor and a responsibility to be named the executor of a trust. Those who have been handed that duty may feel uncertain about that duty. It is good to become well-versed on the goals of a trust before making big decisions about said trust.

Source: Estate.FindLaw.com, "What does an Executor do?," accessed on March 6, 2017

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