Navigating Estate Administration: The Executor of Estate, Washington DC

Who is the executor of estate, Washington DC? Discover expert guidance from our trusted law firm for estate administration and executors. Contact us today.


Who Is the Executor of Estate?

An executor is a personal representative appointed by the testator or the probate court to administer the decedent’s estate assets and fulfill their last will and testament. Executors of an estate ensure the proper management and distribution of probate assets according to the deceased will.

If no will is left, the person nominated will administer the estate according to the Washington D.C. intestate succession laws. Their primary responsibility is to organize assets and settle outstanding debts. They also oversee the distribution of any remaining assets to the rightful beneficiaries.

Navigating the probate court process alone is difficult, especially after losing a family member. Our probate attorney at Kevin C. Martin, Attorney at Law, P.L.L.C., can give you the legal counsel and support you need as a successor personal representative of an estate in D.C.


Who Can Be an Executor in Washington, DC?

In Washington, DC, a personal representative should be:

  • At least 18 years of age
  • A United States citizen or a permanent resident
  • Of sound mind

Anyone convicted of a felony or a crime involving moral turpitude, such as fraud or theft, is not eligible to execute wills.

The testator (the deceased person) can appoint their representative in their will. However, if the deceased does not, the probate court appoints a close relative of the deceased as an executor. According to D.C. regulations, the representative of the estate can be a parent, sibling, child, or surviving spouse. If there are no surviving relatives, the court can appoint a professional executor, such as a lawyer.

Relatives who wish to become the personal representative of a deceased person must fill out certain pleadings with the probate court. These pleadings include the petition to open the probate estate and be appointed as executor. One must also submit the original will and a certified death certificate to prove the validity of their appointment.

How Does the Probate Process for Estate Assets Work in D.C.?

The D.C. probate process takes about one year to conclude. However, the process can last longer if objections and disputes arise. Family members who disagree with the will or the appointed executor can file a notice of objection, which can prolong the process. Moreover, creditors may file claims against the estate up to 90 days after the testator’s death.

The following is the probate process in Washington, D.C.:

  1. Filing a probate petition with the court
  2. Appointment of a personal representative
  3. Submission of the will, if any
  4. Taking inventory and submitting valuations of all probate assets
  5. Approval by the court and beneficiaries
  6. Distribution of estate assets to beneficiaries

The court requires detailed records of all the assets and distributions. Personal representatives must keep records of all expenses, including funeral costs and attorney fees. Executors must also file tax returns for the deceased person and the estate.

The Role of a Personal Representative in Washington DC

Personal representatives have specific duties to fulfill. According to Washington D.C. laws, they are responsible for managing the decedent’s estate assets, identifying assets and liabilities, resolving debts, distributing assets to heirs, and filing legal paperwork.

Specifically, an executor in D.C. has a legal responsibility to ensure the following:

  • Arranging the decedent’s funeral
  • Notifying the beneficiaries and heirs of the decedent’s will
  • Identifying assets and debts
  • Taking care of business interests, income, and investments
  • Taking care of bank accounts, estate’s property insurance, and collection of valuables
  • Notifying Social Security, credit cards, and banks of the testator’s death
  • Taking the decedent’s will to the probate court if necessary
  • Submitting tax returns on estate income
  • Taking care of estate administration expenses
  • Distributing the net estate’s assets to heirs as per the requirement of the will or law
  • Distributing the net assets to heirs as per the requirement of the will or law
  • Identifying liabilities and settling all debts
  • Distributing properties and assets to heirs and creditors according to the will or law
  • Appearing in probate court as a personal representative of the decedent’s estate
  • Handling the estate administration process.

The executor’s fiduciary duty is primarily to the decedent. The executor must always act in the decedent’s and their beneficiaries’ best interests.

The executor’s responsibilities can be overwhelming, especially if the probate court is involved. Consider consulting with an estate planning lawyer to get the help and guidance you need.

Rules for Executors in Washington, D.C.

In Washington, D.C., the probate court may reject the following persons as executors:

  • Any court judge in the United States

  • Any employee of the Superior Court in D.C.

  • An employee of the Washington D.C. Court of Appeals

  • Any person working in the Washington D.C. Court System

The above personnel can only become personal representatives if they are a surviving spouse, a domestic partner, or a relative within the third degree of kinship.

The court cannot appoint a person who files a written declaration with the Probate Register declining to serve as an executor.

What Is the Role of an Attorney in Estate Administration?

Most people create an estate plan to avoid the probate process. However, disputes can arise upon a person’s death, and friends and family may take to court to settle them.

An estate attorney can help you prepare and plan your estate before your death. They can assist you in:

  • Selecting a guardian for your minor children
  • Assisting you in establishing an estate administration process
  • Making a plan on how to manage insurance, debts, and taxes

Upon your death, your estate planning attorney will:

  • Help your estate administrator open a probate estate
  • Notify your beneficiaries and creditors
  • Assist executors in determining assets
  • Assist in insurance proceedings
  • Handle estate creditors’ claims or lawsuits
  • Assist in ensuring the transfer of estate assets
  • handle probate division matters

Kevin C. Martin, Attorney at Law, P.L.L.C. Can Help

Whether you are an estate owner who needs help in estate planning or a personal representative who needs assistance with probate, our D.C. probate and estate planning attorneys can help.

We can give you the legal guidance to create your last will, appoint an executor, and protect your estate. We help executors with filing petitions and navigating all probate matters.

Contact our legal team at Kevin C. Martin, Attorney at Law, P.L.L.C., today to schedule a free consultation.



What Is the Average Executors’ Fee in Washington, DC?

In the District of Columbia, an executor’s fee may be a percentage of the overall estate value. However, they may also use a “services-rendered” bill by the number of hours they spent working on the estate to determine the fee.

What Is the Time Limit for an Executor to Settle an Estate in Washington DC?

In DC probate laws, it takes six months to a year for estate representatives to settle an estate. However, if there are claims or lawsuits, it might take much longer. If the estate is under unsupervised administration, the executor’s appointment will be automatically terminated after three years.

Do Executors Receive Payment in D.C.?

Through state law or specific will provisions, an executor should receive “reasonable compensation.” Executor fees vary depending on the decedent’s property and other assets. Thus the probate court should approve an executors’ fee. The fee is usually a standard one, which is a percentage of the probate estate.