Scenario: You’ve been named the executor 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 executor is to take on several important duties, and sometimes liabilities as well. Whether you are a newly named executor or are selecting an executor as part of your estate planning, the role of executor 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 executor (also known as the “personal representative”) 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 may not be 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. And if the executor is not careful, he or she may open him or herself up to personal liability for mistakes made during the administration of the estate.
When facing the challenge of becoming an executor (or selecting your own), it certainly helps to have the assistance and counsel of a professional who can guide you through the process and make sure things get done the right way, and in the right order. As always, it's best to secure the advice and or/services of competent legal counsel sooner rather than later.
For more information about the responsibilities and duties of executors in Pennsylvania, or for assistance with the probate and administration process of an estate for which you have been named executor, please contact us at Peak Legal Group.
Reference: Forbes (February 14, 2013) “Understanding the Role and Responsibilities of an Executor”