As Executor (“Personal Representative”) of a Will, or “Trustee” of a Trust, you must know your legal responsibilities and how to perform them responsibly (and legally). Some of the most common questions we see are:
Do you need to probate the Will or not?
What does all this paperwork mean?
How long will the probate process last?
What if there is no Will?
Do you have to obtain a bond?
What if the decedent owned property in more than one state?
What if the decedent owned real estate or other business interests?
What if the beneficiaries cannot get along?
These are just a handful of the most common questions. Often, the answers are difficult and worrying. At times, being an Executor/Trustee can feel like a thankless task. But here are some of the basic steps:
Qualification before the Court
May or may not be required to pay a bond
Collect estate assets
Open and manage estate checking and other financial accounts
Send notice to creditors
Pay creditor claims according to priority
Timely file and multiple inventories and accountings before the Court
Pay a year’s allowance to a surviving spouse or dependent children
Retitle real estate, if necessary and as required
File individual and estate tax returns
Distribute assets in an orderly, accurate, and timely manner to beneficiaries
Defend any will contests or caveats to the Will
You perform these duties under the supervision of the Court, and you report directly to the Clerk of Superior Court. There are certain legal requirements you must follow as well. It can be complex, time-consuming and demanding. It requires dedication, attention to detail, knowledge and professionalism. Where real estate, stock and investment accounts, retirement accounts, or other significant assets are involved (with multiple beneficiaries), the estate or trust administration process can be overwhelming, but we can help.
We are experienced in all facets of Estate Administration, Trusteeships and Will Caveats. We will clarify the process for you, prepare necessary documentation, communicate with asset holders, and represent you in your capacity as a Personal Representative or Trustee before the Court. It is very important to understand that you are a legal fiduciary to the heirs of the Estate or the beneficiaries of a Trust. If you exercise your duties in an irresponsible way, you can be held personally liable or even criminally liable. We even prepare videos for our clients to help them understand the process.
Our law firm strives to keep costs fair and reasonable – we do not charge flat fees based on a percentage of assets (we think that’s unfair). If you need help navigating the murky waters of the Estate Administration or Trust process, please contact us and set up a free consultation – we are here to help.
What makes US so different?
We advise… smartly.
We keep the complex simple, negatives positive, & relationships thoughtful and fair.
We care about you, your family and your business.
Above all else, we are a trusted friend.