Probate attorneys at Mark S. Eghrari & Associates, PLLC can provide help to any individual who has been named as executor of an estate. We can also provide representation to heirs or beneficiaries who want to ensure that an executor fulfills his responsibilities properly. Executors have tremendous responsibility during the probate process, which can take around a year to complete according to Investopedia. It is imperative that executors understand what to expect during probate and that they get the proper help to fulfill their responsibilities and carry out the wishes of the deceased.
Mark S. Eghrari & Associates, PLLC is ready to offer compassionate and knowledgeable legal advice to anyone fulfilling the responsibilities of an executor of an estate. We can help in simple estates, in complex estates where a substantial amount of assets are involved, and in circumstances where problems arise such as a will being contested. To get the help you need and to learn more about what’s involved in serving as an executor and managing estate assets, give us a call today.
What Do Executors Need to Know About Managing an Estate?
If you have been named as executor of an estate, there are a few key things that you need to know:
- The court must officially appoint you as an executor. A person who creates a last will and testament may name you as the executor, but the court still needs to appoint you before you become officially responsible for managing estate assets and seeing the estate through the probate process. If you do not want to be the executor, you don’t have to accept this role just because the last will and testament named you to fulfill it. The court could appoint a personal representative instead if you chose not to serve as executor. You should think about whether you can live up to the executor’s responsibilities before you accept the role.
- You’ll be in charge of managing all of the assets in the estate. It will be your responsibility to manage the money and property that the deceased left behind. You’ll need to take actions like paying bills, monitoring investments, tracking down people who owe money to the estate, paying creditors, inventorying assets, and otherwise taking steps to ensure that the wealth the deceased left behind is protected and accounted for.
- You have a fiduciary duty: If you take on the role of executor of an estate, this role comes with a fiduciary duty. A fiduciary duty is the highest duty that a person can owe. You will have a responsibility to act in the best interests of the heirs or beneficiaries and to honor the wishes of the deceased. You cannot enrich yourself at the expense of the estate, you must manage assets in a responsible way, and you must not be negligent in fulfilling your obligations. In the event that you fail to fulfill the fiduciary duty imposed upon the executor of an estate, it is possible that you could be sued for breach of fiduciary duty and could need to provide compensation for the damage that you caused to occur.
- You’ll have to take care of financial and legal issues. As the executor of an estate, you’ll be in charge of filing paperwork with the probate court and with the IRS. It will be your job to take the necessary steps to facilitate the transfer of assets, to change titles and deeds, to make sure any estate tax are paid on the federal and state level, and otherwise to take care of all technicalities that arise in connection with handing assets on to heirs or beneficiaries.
These are just a few of the many key things that you need to know about managing an estate if you have been named as executor of an estate. If issues arise, such as someone deciding to contest a will, you will also need to take responsibility for defending it and ensuring that the wishes of the deceased are respected.
Getting Help from Probate Attorneys
Probate attorneys at Mark S. Eghrari & Associates, PLLC can help you to make smart choices about managing assets so you can make sure that you fulfill your responsibilities as an executor of an estate. We can also provide representation to heirs or beneficiaries who stand to inherit and who want to make sure that the executor of an estate who is in charge of managing the estate assets is living up to his fiduciary duty. To find out more about the ways in which our firm can help you, join us for a free seminar. You can also give us a call at (631) 265-0599 or contact us online to get personalized help and advice when your loved one has passed away.