If you are the executor you will need to ascertain information on the assets and liabilities of the estate, obtain taxation advice, financial advice and you will need the addresses and contact details of all beneficiaries. By naming an Executor, you can control who will be responsible for managing your estate and carrying out your wishes when you die. You have no doubt heard of the probate process, and how burdensome it is. Opening a Probate Estate. Just ask anyone who has been a executor in the past and many will tell you it can be very time consuming, emotionally draining, difficult and seem like it never ends. When You Can Probate an Estate Without a Lawyer. Before you agree to be executor, you should be certain that you have the time to do the job. The Grant of Probate is an important court order to obtain, as it empowers you as an executor to carry out the instructions in the will. Whether it’s because of a small family, or fear of causing stress in a loved one’s life, there are many reasons why so many folks feel they don’t have anyone to name as their executor.. You Don’t Have Immediate Family. If you do not choose one before you die, the courts will be in charge of appointing an administrator to execute your wishes, and this person may not be someone you would have wanted to act in this role. Lodge a 'trust tax return' This is only necessary if the estate earns an income from when the person dies the final distribution of the assets. The executor of a will is responsible for carrying out a deceased loved one's wishes. In this blog, we discuss the steps you should take to properly execute a Will, including filing with your state’s probate court, paying off the decedent’s debts, and distributing assets to beneficiaries. Secure the will. Assuming the deceased planned ahead, there will also be a specific document cataloging valuables like heirloom necklaces or firearms. Distribute assets. As an executor, you also need to apply to the court for a Grant of Probate, to be legally recognised as the executor of the deceased’s estate. Act as the executor before the testator dies. Work out how much the estate is worth Choosing an executor can be very difficult if you feel you don’t have many choices. It could be a friend or family member. Alternatively, they may be paid by the hour. Duties of an Executor. It’s important to name an executor because they will be the person in charge of taking care of your estate. They must of course be trustworthy, but they also need to be very strong with paperwork and filing out government forms. As you can see, the Executor has many duties to carry out. What an Executor of an Estate isn’t Responsible for or Cannot Do After a Death. An Executor is the person legally responsible for carrying out your wishes in accordance with your will after you die. Estates vary regarding valuation and complexity. You should give this responsibility to someone knowing that the task will be time-consuming and stressful. 1. You will likely need an attorney's assistance to accomplish this. If you do decide to act as Executor, then you will need to file the original Will with the Court and open a probate estate with the Court. Rest assured that whatever step of the probate process you’re working through, there’s likely a form for it. The writer of the last will and testament may decide that the executor should receive a percentage of the estate as compensation for their services. What do I do? If you die without a proper Will or don't name someone to be the Executor of your estate, the court will determine who should be your "personal representative." Being an Executor can take up a considerable amount of time. It is important that, when choosing your Executor, you have a great deal of trust in that person to do the right thing and carry out your wishes because it is a complex and demanding role. Being the executor of someone’s Will is a big responsibility. If an executor isn’t performing their duties correctly, in the first instance it is sensible to write a letter to the executor stating your concerns and requesting an account of the administration of the estate. This will likely be your spouse, your adult children, or your closest relative. Serving as the executor of a will can be a bigger time commitment than many people might expect. If a solicitor or bank is holding the Will, you will need to show them the death certificate to obtain the Will. 4. If you have a will, the person in charge will be called the executor. Here are some circumstances that make you a good candidate for handling the estate without a professional at your side. Even if you are married, you need to designate someone to do this. Also, if your executor of choice happens to live in another state, you'll need to check your state's law to see if it imposes any special requirements. If there is more than one Executor, the authority of all the Executors will be needed to release the Will to one of you. You usually need probate or letters of administration to deal with an estate if it includes property such as a flat or a house. How many Executors are needed for your will is down to your own personal preference, as one person or up to four can act as Executor at once. You can choose who your Executors are by formally naming them in your will. Being an executor can involve a lot of work and responsibility, so think carefully about who you choose. The first thing you should do when you find out you have been named executor of an estate is to meet with an attorney to get competent advice. If probate is required, you need to file a petition with the court to be appointed an executor. In its simplest definition, if you own assets, you have an estate. Not only do you need to oversee the transfer of assets to the proper beneficiaries, but you also need to pay debts, close accounts and wrap up other miscellaneous affairs for the deceased.. It is possible to have only one executor but in nearly all cases you will need to have at least two trustees. Why Do I Need To Name An Executor For My Estate? There can be some misunderstanding and a bit of confusion about what happens if one of the executors to your Will dies before you, so here we will clear that uncertainty up and explain the effect the death of an executor has on the validity of a Will. You need to tell the executor that you will be applying to court to ask if someone else could settle the estate. We’ll go over some of the most important forms here. While no legal knowledge is needed to handle a simple will, a probate attorney can be a valuable resource to an executor in handling a will where there are property disputes or tax liabilities. When you make a will, you need to choose your executor(s). Lodge a citation at court. Some states require an out-of-state executor to be a family member or a beneficiary, some require a bond to protect your heirs in case of mismanagement and some require the appointment of an in-state agent. 6. Your will appoints your executor who is recognized as your estate’s legal representative. I am an executor of a Will. If you don’t have a will, then someone still has to be responsible for dealing with your affairs after your death. What do you need to do now that you’re being called into action? The appointed person, who may be called a personal administrator or estate administrator, may not be the person who you would have wanted to fulfill this role and take care of your assets during the probate process. If you were named the executor of your spouse or civil partner’s will, you may need to apply for probate before you can administer their estate. An executor or administrator is the individual responsible for administrating your estate once you pass away. Who should I choose to be an executor? The duties of an executor change depending on the size and complexity of the estate and the relationships, diversity and number of beneficiaries. Before you do anything, you need to review any and all paperwork relating to the estate. These should cover the basics: funeral arrangements, how the deceased wants the estate managed, and preferences about matters like burial. Explain what’s involved and check that they’re willing to act on your behalf. Being named as an executor and administering an estate (the person’s assets) can be very daunting, especially at a time when you are grieving. When it comes to preferences around funeral arrangements or sentimental possessions, you will also be required to address these issues. You only need to do this if the deceased person was earning an income above the tax-free threshold before they passed away. What should you do if an executor isn’t performing their duties correctly? 4 min read. So what does an executor do? Here are 10 things that you may not do as an executor.. 1. If you don’t have a will, the court will appoint an administrator. If you also have debts and/or a will, you may need someone to settle your estate when you die. The Deceased’s Estate If you don’t have the original will because the executor is holding on to it, you’ll have to arrange for a subpoena to be served telling them to hand it over to you within 8 days. Another option to consider is flat fee compensation. Here, we’ll cover the main steps you need to follow before you can close accounts and distribute assets to beneficiaries. Do I need to make a new Will if one of my executors dies before me? LawDepot on April 27, 2020. If you do not choose an executor for your will, the court is going to have to appoint someone to fulfill this role. You can choose whoever you like to do this job (and it can be more than one person) – but it’s an important choice to get right. Do you always need probate or letters of administration. We highly recommended that you work with a licensed accountant for this step. Such a person is usually referred to simply as an “administrator”. Additionally, the value of the estate may allow it to pass through an expedited process. You do need to think about this when you choose an Executor for your Will. Not every one of them needs to apply to your situation—but the more that do, the easier time you will have. You will need the original Will, even if you do not apply for a Grant of Probate. There are a few different ways you can approach the payment of an executor. (As an aside, original Wills are required to be filed with the Court upon a person’s passing. Is the person that you choose to be an Executor for your Will going to be up to the job? Represent the Estate in Court. Purposefully “secreting” a will is a crime). When you serve as the executor of a will, you’ll need to grapple with a lot of paperwork as you coordinate the distribution of assets and property. Many executors are attorneys or accountants who may not know the deceased very well. Why do I have to apply for a Grant of Probate? When a friend or family member asks you to be an executor of their estate, it's important to remember it's a role that comes with a lot of responsibility — and some risks.. 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