Continuing the discussion from the first two blogs in this three-part blog series covering the important duties that executors have in New York, this last blog covers the executor’s final duties.
Under New York law, an executor can become personally liable for repaying creditors if they distribute a decedent’s assets before properly accounting for all of the decedent’s creditors. As an executor, you should make sure you receive a written agreement from each beneficiary promising to return any property if you are unable to repay creditors or other debts the decedent was responsible for paying. You must also prepare a written inventory or accounting of the earned assets within the estate and the distributions you’ve made during your administration of the decedent’s estate. However, beneficiaries can waive a formal judicial accounting as long as they are of legal age to make those waivers.
It may be in your best interest as anexecutor of a decedent’s estate to conduct a formal judicial accounting to obtain a formal discharge from the Surrogate’s Court. Your formal accounting will contain your total commissions earned under the decedent’s will or pursuant to statute unless you waived your commissions. Typically, your formal accounting should be done by your estate planning attorney.