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I've Been Appointed Executor. Now What?

May 27, 2021

2 women working on their estate planning documentsSettling an estate as an executor is oftentimes no simple task. According to the Executor and Estate Settlement Statistics by, on average, settling an estate takes the executor nearly 16 months or about 570 hours to complete. The executor of an estate has the responsibility to perform specific tasks during the probate process and in accordance with the provisions of the will.

If you have been appointed an executor by a deceased friend or relative, understanding your specific roles and duties will be crucial for you to act in accordance with the decedent's wishes. Bearman Law has the resources and necessary experience to provide reliable guidance to executors and families facing the complicated estate administration process.

As a knowledgeable Oregon estate planning attorney, attorney David A. Bearman can help you understand your responsibilities as an executor, explain the details of the estate plan that the decedent has created, and outline an effective strategy to help you fulfill your duties. David also proudly serves clients in Salem, Lake Oswego, and throughout the entire state of Oregon.

What is an Executor?

An executor of an estate — often referred to as a "personal representative" in Oregon — is an individual appointed to administer a decedent's estate. The executor's primary role is to protect the decedent's property until taxes and debts are paid and then transfer the remaining assets to heirs and beneficiaries.

Who Can Serve as an Executor in Oregon?

Here are the basic requirements for serving as an executor in the state of Oregon (Oregon Revised Statute Section 113.095):

  • The person must be 18 years or older.

  • The person must be of sound mind, that is, not considered incapacitated by a court.

  • The person must not be suspended for misconduct or disbarred from the practice of law.

  • The person must not be a licensed funeral service practitioner unless he or she is the decedent’s relative.

The Roles and Responsibilities of the Executor

If you've been appointed as an executor to an estate, you have a fiduciary duty to fulfill your duties justly and with the best interests of the decedent at heart. Likewise, you must act ethically while following all applicable statutes. Here are some of the roles and responsibilities of the executor:

  • Gather all the vital documents of the deceased person

  • Evaluate the decedent's assets and debts

  • Notify the heirs and beneficiaries

  • File the will with the probate court

  • Recover all money owed to the estate

  • Administer the estate

  • File estate taxes

  • Protect the deceased's estate until assets and properties are transferred to the beneficiaries

  • Distribute the assets to heirs and beneficiaries who are entitled to them.

Does The Executor Receive Compensation?

According to Oregon Revised Statute Section 116.173 (3), the executor is entitled to receive the following compensation for any services provided:

Probate Property, including gains and income:

  • Seven percent of any sum not exceeding $1,000.

  • Four percent of all above $1,000 and not exceeding $10,000.

  • Three percent of all above $10,000 and not exceeding $50,000.

  • Two percent of all above $50,000.

Non-Probate Property:

  • One percent of the property, exclusive of life insurance proceeds,

Grounds for Removal

The Oregon court is within its jurisdiction to remove an executor who is deemed to be seriously incompetent or dishonest. An executor may be removed under the following grounds:

  • Inability to fulfill the executor's duties

  • Failure to comply with court orders

  • Failure to account for estate's assets

  • Utilizing estate funds for personal needs

  • Gross mismanagement of estate property

  • Being convicted of a felony

Hire an Experienced Oregon
Estate Planning Attorney

If you’ve been named as the executor over someone's will, it means that the testator believes in your ability to settle their final affairs. However, being able to act ethically and diligently requires a fundamental understanding of your role and duties as an executor, as well as your financial and legal responsibilities. That’s why it is always a good idea to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney for reliable legal counsel and guidance.

Attorney David Bearman has devoted his entire career to providing knowledgeable and comprehensive guidance for matters related to estate planning, administration, and probate. David is available to help you understand your role as an executor and answer any questions you may have along the way. David can review the estate plan, help you communicate with any beneficiaries, settle debts and taxes, and distribute assets to the inheritors. He can also help prepare a detailed checklist to assist you through the estate administration process from start to finish using his extensive knowledge and experience.

So if you or someone you know has been appointed as an executor of an estate, contact Bearman Law today to schedule a one-on-one case assessment. Attorney David Bearman will be proud to offer you the comprehensive legal counsel, advocacy, and assistance you need to navigate any key decisions during the estate administration process. He is also proud to represent clients in Salem, Lake Oswego, and throughout the entire state of Oregon, so call today to learn more about how he can help you.