Serving as an executor or personal representative of someone’s estate is an immense responsibility and can be particularly difficult when dealing with the emotional burden of losing a loved one.
Even the terminology of the probate or estate administration process can be confusing. An executor is the person named in a will to administer the estate. An administrator of an estate is the person who is appointed to serve that function when the deceased person has died without a will. If you are an executor, your primary duties are to ensure that the deceased’s wishes are carried out as expressed in his or her will. If you are an administrator, your responsibility is to distribute the deceased assets in accordance with the default state rules that apply when someone dies without a will.
In either case, your duties are similar: identify all of the assets and distribute them to the people they go to. While this sounds simple, the legal requirements and, at times, practical difficulties of navigating the process can be challenging.
As an executor or administrator of an estate, you have immense responsibility – and corresponding liability. If the estate assets are not handled correctly, you may be personally liable for any mistakes – which can amount to thousands or even millions of dollars. That’s why it’s important to get sound legal advice.
If you’ve been named as an executor of an estate – or if your loved one died without a will – contact us for help navigating the process. We can help you with the process - from filing court papers and transferring assets to ensuring the proper tax returns are filed - and protect your own interests so that you don't end up being punished for doing a good deed.