Probate lawyers at Parman & Easterday provide personalized help to all those who going through probate. We represent those who has been named as executor of an estate, the heirs or beneficiaries of an estate, and even those who believe a last will and testament doesn’t accurately reflect the wishes of the deceased and should be contested.
While probate can be long and stressful for everyone involved, those who serve as executor of an estate have primary responsibility for the probate process. It is important for executors to reach out to probate lawyers for assistance. You can call and talk with a compassionate and knowledgeable member of our legal team to get personalized help. You can also read on to learn some of the key things probate lawyers wish executors knew.
You Aren’t Officially the Executor Because You’ve Been Named in a Will
A common misconception many have is that if you are named in a last will and testament, this automatically gives you legal authority to act as the executor. The reality is that a court must appoint you as the executor before you have all the rights and responsibilities of this role.
If you are not sure you want to serve as the executor because of the responsibility involved, you can choose not to be appointed as executor. The court can appoint another personal representative or estate administrator to fulfill this role in managing the affairs of the estate and transferring assets to the beneficiaries.
Probate Will Take a Long Time
Another thing to realize is that this is a long commitment. According to Investopedia, the probate process takes around a year or longer to complete. This is a very long time to manage estate assets and periodically go to court hearings as needed.
Think about your willingness to make such a long-term commitment before you decide if you are willing to serve as executor. An experienced attorney can help make the process easier and ensure the probate is completed as quickly and smoothly as possible, but cannot shorten the required time periods that cause probates to take so long.
Executors Have Many Different Responsibilities During Probate
You need to be aware of the responsibility you take on as an executor of an estate before you decide you can fulfill this role. An executor has to file court paperwork and attend hearings to settle the estate. Executors will address tax issues, including getting a tax ID number for the estate. Executors must provide notice to interested parties, defend the last will and testament if it is contested, and manage the estate assets during the course of the probate process.
Not only do executors have tasks they must complete, but they also have a fiduciary duty — the highest duty owed under the law. When you have a fiduciary duty, you must act in the interests of the estate and not in your own self interest. You must exercise reasonable care and not be negligent in your management of the estate or the fulfillment of your obligations. If you breach your fiduciary duty, you can be sued and made to cover losses, so you don’t want to serve if you think you cannot fulfill this role correctly.
Getting help from Probate Lawyers
Probate lawyers at Parman & Easterday will guide executors through the winding up of an estate during probate. We provide the personalized help you need to fulfill your responsibilities, live up to your fiduciary duty, and ensure the probate goes as quickly and smoothly as possible.