6 THE QUEENS COURIER • QUEENS BUSINESS • MARCH 8, 2018 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
The Elder Law Minute TM
The Important Job of an Executor
BY RONALD A. FATOULLAH, ESQ.
AND YAN LIAN KUANG-MAOGA,
What does it mean to be named as
an executor under someone’s will?
Generally, it can be seen as an honor to
be named as an executor but it is important
to know exactly what responsibilities
the title carries. Th e following is a general
job description of an executor:
(1) Probating the Last Will and
Testament of the Deceased: Th ere is
a common misconception that having a
will and a named executor means that the
court process is avoided. Th e process of
“probate” is specifi cally for the purpose
of proving that the decedent’s Last Will
and Testament is valid. Along with this
process the court appoints the executor.
An executor named under a will is only a
nominated executor until the court legally
appoints the executor and grants him/
her power over the estate. Th erefore,
the fi rst task of the named executor is
to obtain the original will and prove to
the court that it is a valid will. Th is is
the probate process which generally will
require the help of a lawyer.
(2) Marshalling Assets: Once the
court legally appoints the executor, the
executor will be provided with a certifi
cate from the court called “Letters
Testamentary.” With this certifi cate,
the executor is to collect all the assets
of the estate. Th is means setting up an
estate account and contacting all the
institutions in which the decedent had
assets in order to get those assets into an
estate account. It is important to note
that the executor is NOT responsible to
collect assets in which a benefi ciary or
joint owner is named. Th ose assets pass
directly to the named benefi ciary or joint
owner. It is also important to note that
the executor is not required to “cash in”
assets such as stocks or real estate, unless
the will provides otherwise. Assets such
as stocks and real estate may be desirable
to keep, therefore the executor can execute
proper paperwork to transfer these
assets “in kind” to the benefi ciaries.
(3) Reporting and Paying Taxes: Unless
the executor is an accountant, it is strongly
recommended that the executor review
the following three types of taxes with an
accountant to make sure reporting requirements
are met and taxes are paid, if any:
• Final Personal Income taxes: Th is is the
personal income tax of the decedent
which covers income tax liability to the
date of death. Th is is also important to
fi le because it notifi es the tax authorities
that this person is deceased; therefore
the return will be the fi nal return.
• Estate taxes (also known as death taxes):
Th is is a tax on the entire estate. For
most estates, estate tax returns are not
necessary because the estate tax exemptions
for Federal and New York State are
high. Currently, the federal estate tax
exemption is $11,200,000 and the New
York State exemption is $5,250,000.
• Estate income taxes: Th is is a tax on
income earned from the decedent’s
date of death to the date when the
estate is fi nalized.
(4) Paying Expenses and Debts:
Th e executor is responsible for paying
administration expenses and debts of the
estate. Th e executor should verify that
the debts are valid.
(5) Distributing the Estate: An executor
can settle an estate formally by court
intervention or, more oft en, informally
between the parties. In the informal process,
the executor provides an accounting
to the benefi ciaries and obtains a release
from each of them before distributing
the estate assets. It is imperative that the
executor carefully read the instructions
of the will as to how the estate is intended
to be distributed. It is also important
for the executor to keep detailed records
and to have open communication with
the benefi ciaries.
Th e above is a very general job description
of the executor. Each estate is diff erent,
therefore it is important for a named
executor to review the estate with an
attorney to ensure that he/she is carrying
out his/her responsibilities appropriately.
Ronald A. Fatoullah, Esq. is the principal
of Ronald Fatoullah & Associates,
a law fi rm that concentrates in elder
law, estate planning, Medicaid planning,
guardianships, estate administration,
trusts, wills, and real estate. Yan
Lian Kuang-Maoga is an elder law attorney
with the fi rm. Th e law fi rm can be
reached at 718-261-1700, 516-466-4422,
or toll free at 1-877-ELDER-LAW or
1-877-ESTATES. Mr. Fatoullah is also
a partner with Advice Period, a wealth
management fi rm, and he can be reached
5 Qualities Every Leader Should Possess
What is the diff erence
between a boss and a leader?
Managers who are perceived
as bosses dictate to
their teams. Managers who
are perceived as leaders have
a vision that they share with
their teams. In order to be a
great leader, managers must
possess the qualities below:
1.Leads by example
A leader will be the fi rst
person to demonstrate a new
behavior, to support an exciting
new technology, or to
embrace a new concept. Leaders should
strive to be innovators that help to
spark ideas and challenge the status quo.
Leaders are the people who will help
drive change that will encourage growth
in the organization.
It is the leader’s responsibility
is to help to remove
obstacles from the paths
of their team. A leader’s
goal should be to pave the
way for team members to
become effective and successful.
help to resolve issues that
are getting in the way of
team goals, they are demonstrating
When the team looks good,
the leader looks great!
3. Collaborates Well
A leader understands that he or
she may not have all the answers. A
leader knows that the most effective
teams embrace a collaborative environment
that relies on the combined
intelligence of the team. Leaders also
acknowledge the value of sharing
information instead of hoarding it.
When leaders share their experience
and knowledge with others, everyone
4. Provides Ongoing Feedback
Leaders know that it is important
to provide their teams with real time
feedback and recognition. Feedback
is most effective when it is given
through regular, periodic check-ins.
Leaders give their team members consistent
positive and constructive feedback
to ensure that the team knows
what goals are important to focus on
and how to measure success.
5. Respects boundaries
A good leader recognizes that team
members have lives outside of work
and respects those boundaries. This
means that it is important to respect
personal boundaries in terms of social
networks, physical space and family
commitments. Just because technology
has made it possible to always be
connected, doesn’t mean that we must
always be available.
Being a leader is something you earn,
not something you are assigned to do.
As Vince Lombardi said, “Leaders are
made, they are not born”.
Mindy Stern, SPHR, SHRM-SCP,
ACC is a trusted HR advisor, career and
leadership coach, author, speaker and
president of AIM Resource Group Inc.
Visit the website at www.aimresourcegroup.
com or call 718-217-1074 if you
would like to learn more about leadership