Are you creating an estate plan for after you pass away? At some point, you will have to choose someone to be the executor or administrator of your estate. This is a personal choice and one you need to think about carefully. This is the individual who will be responsible for ensuring your estate is administered according to your wishes.
The person who is appointed (by you) is referred to as an executor and their name is included in your will. However, if you die intestate (without a will), then an administrator will be appointed by the court. The role of the executor and administrator are the same, except for the fact that the will appoints an executor.
Responsibilities of the Estate Executor or Administrator
The person who is named the executor or administrator of your estate will have many responsibilities. Some of these include:
- Probating your will
- Notifying all heirs and beneficiaries
- Publishing the notice of the estate administration with the proper news outlets
- Notifying all creditors about the estate
- Establishing a bank account for the estate
- Handling all claims made against the estate
- Paying all of the debts of the estate
- Distributing all estate assets properly
- Selling all estate assets, which includes real estate that was owned
- Preparing the Federal estate tax return and handling other tax related issues
- Closing the estate
As you can see, the role of the executor or administrator is robust. At times, it can also be quite complicated. As a result, there are some who wonder if hiring a probate attorney is necessary.
Does the Executor or the Administrator Need to Hire a Probate Attorney?
While there is no legal requirement that an estate executor or administrator hire an attorney, there are some who have found that using the guidance and experience of this legal professional can be extremely useful.
In many cases, the executor or administrator may find the responsibilities of the estate to be too complex or overwhelming to handle on their own. This is especially true if the executor is grieving the loss of the person. It is necessary for the executor or administrator to comply with all laws and make important decisions regarding the debts and assets of the estate. If the individual fails at meeting these obligations, they may be held personally liable. This is why many make the decision to hire a probate attorney to help with the process.
There’s no question that being named as the executor or administrator of a person’s estate is a huge responsibility. Seeking outside help is necessary in many situations to ensure everything is done properly and legally.
While you may not want to think about your own mortality, it is something that any responsible person should do. Creating an estate plan will help to reduce the stress and hassle your family faces after your death. If you have not yet done this, then it is necessary to speak with a professional like The KC Estate Planner who can help.