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FAQs for Beneficiaries and Executors

What is the job of the executor?

The executor is the personal representative of the deceased. The executor is named in the will and is in charge of settling the decedent's estate. Responsibilities include managing financial obligations like tax payment and collecting unpaid benefits, salary, and commission. The executor is also in charge of handling the transfer and distribution of assets.

What is a probate estate?

The probate estate is made up of any assets that are registered in the individual name of the deceased that do not have a beneficiary. Such assets include cash, real estate, personal property, and investments. They are controlled by the will and pass through the probate transfer process.

What kinds of documents do I need?

The most recent copy of the will is the most important document. You'll also want to locate trusts, insurance policies, deeds and titles. Bank statements and records of all accounts or contracts can also be useful. The decedent's Social Security number, account numbers, and death certificate are all important as well.

What do I do if I don't want the inheritance?

Once you have been informed of your interest in the deceased's estate, you should think about whether you want to accept the inheritance or disclaim it. Disclaiming the inheritance means that you are waiving your right to it. Find out from the executor exactly how long you have to decide, because there is a time limit for disclaiming.

As a beneficiary, can I transfer IRA funds into my own accounts?

The only beneficiary that can do this is a surviving spouse.

This article is provided by New York Life for informational purposes only. Neither New York Life, AARP nor its affiliates provide tax, legal, financial or accounting advice. Please consult your own professional for advice specific to your circumstances.