Executors are responsible for collecting and distributing proceeds from life insurance policies, retirement plans, IRA accounts, and annuities. Because life insurance, retirement plans, and annuities are not controlled by the Will, benefits are distributed according to their beneficiary designations. Applications for these proceeds should be completed by the beneficiaries. Often the executor or a successor trustee of a Living Trust will help with this process. In addition to collecting the proceeds, there may be important elections for the beneficiary to make. For example, whether to take the benefits as a lump sum or as fixed payments over a period of time.

These proceeds are generally subject to federal estate taxes and may be subject to estate or inheritance taxes under the applicable state laws. Therefore, information regarding the proceeds will need to be provided to the executor, successor trustee, or other person handling the tax returns for the estate.

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Get started Start Your Estate Planning Answer some questions. We’ll take care of the rest.