Ideally, a loved one will discuss your role as an executor of their estate long before they pass. This candid discussion will allow you to consider the duties and responsibilities of someone acting in this role. That way you can make an informed decision long before it matters for your loved one. However, those who pass may not always have the foresight or time to have this conversation. As a result, you may have an executor assignment that you did not necessarily agree to carry out.
Being an executor can be time-consuming, complicated, and even intimidating. However, you do not have to undertake this role alone. A probate attorney who specializes in probate administration can help you carry out your duties in an efficient and ethical manner.
Should You Accept the Role as an Executor?
Despite what your family or friends tell you, you have the option to turn down the role of executor or personal representative if you feel unqualified or it would be too much for you to handle at this point in your life. The role can pass to someone else who may be appointed by the court, assuming the decedent did not name an alternate executor.
You have a lot to consider in determining whether you should accept this role and what you must do if you decide to carry out the duties of the executor. Being an executor of an estate is often considered both an honor and a burden. You may be pleased to learn that your loved one wanted you to take care of this significant part of their legacy, but being an executor can be extremely time-consuming and confusing.
Below is a short listing of factors you should consider in determining whether you should accept the role as an executor for your loved one.
- The complexity of the estate
- Familiarity with the person’s affairs
- Logistics considerations, such as how far away you live from where the estate should be settled
- Personal relationship with family members of the decedent
- Potential conflict among family members regarding the estate
- Whether you could legally collect payment for services as an executor
- Whether there someone else is available and ready to perform these duties
- The effect of taking time off work or away from your family to fulfill the executor’s duties
Some loved ones find the process of completing a loved one’s estate incredibly therapeutic and satisfying. Loved ones often take pride in knowing that they are carrying out goals that the individual who has passed has entrusted them to accomplish. This type of value is difficult to put into words, but it should certainly be considered.
Getting Help with the Estate
As part of your considerations of whether to become the executor, keep in mind that you do not have to fulfill these duties alone. Loved ones can be a valuable resource in going through this process, but they can also be a source of conflict as well.
Many people choose to hire a probate attorney or other experts, including real estate agents, tax advisors, and accountants. Involving experts like these not only takes a significant amount off your plate, it also alleviates concerns is making a costly mistake as well.
Biddle Law can help you carry out your loved one’s wishes without a significant burden on your time and pocketbook. Contact our office for more information.