It is important for an executor to pay close attention to detail and engage in a careful, deliberative process. And remember that the best advice will come from an experienced and knowledgeable estate planning attorney.
Scenario: You’ve been named the personal representative of a loved one’s will. You feel honored to be selected, but then the reality of it all hits you – what responsibilities are entailed in this role?
To take on the role of personal representative is to take on several important duties, and sometimes liabilities as well. Whether you are a newly named personal representative or are selecting a personal representative as part of your estate planning, the role of personal representative requires in-depth understanding.
None other than Forbes recently took up this important issue with an article titled “Understanding the Role and Responsibilities of an Executor.” In effect, the personal representative (also known as the “executor”) is the named agent of the deceased, tasked with carrying out their will and tying up all of the legal and fiscal loose ends of life. Even a simple estate typically requires filing the will in probate and distributing assets appropriately to creditors and beneficiaries alike.
As you might imagine, when there is an inheritance in play a messy trifecta of courts, creditors, and family drama isn’t far behind. Depending on the nature and number of creditors, the family dynamics, and even the kinds of assets involved, things can get complicated fast.
When facing the challenge of becoming an personal representative (or selecting your own), it certainly helps to have the assistance and counsel of a professional. Be sure to secure the services of competent legal counsel sooner rather than later.
Reference: Forbes (February 14, 2013) “Understanding the Role and Responsibilities of an Executor”