Berman & Asbel, LLP

Named As An Executor? How You Can Make the Role a Little Easier

Handling the affairs of a loved one who has recently passed away can be an overwhelming challenge. However, if someone has named you as the executor of his or her estate, then it is a challenge you will need to overcome in order to perform your role effectively.

If you are an estate executor, then there are a few things you can do to make this difficult job a little easier for yourself.

  1. Plan ahead. If you know that you are going to serve as the executor of someone's estate, familiarize yourself with his or her wishes. Talk to the person about any questions you might have or clarifications you need. Ask him or her about any surprising assets or potentially controversial terms in a will. This can put you in the position to answer others' questions and concerns, should they arise.
  2. Take your role seriously. As an executor, you have considerable responsibilities and authority. If you do not take this seriously, you can wind up making mistakes or oversights that have costly consequences for the decedent's loved ones.
  3. Make lists and stay organized. An estate executor has a wide range of responsibilities that can require you to juggle several details and contacts. Stay organized by maintaining a current list of contacts, bills you need to pay on behalf of the deceased, financial accounts to close and assets that require management. In many cases, the decedent will have much of this information in his or her estate plan, but having your own records and organizational system can help you perform your job more effectively.

A final suggestion is to ask for help. This role is not one with which people are typically familiar, unless you are a legal or financial professional. Even then, there are nuances associated with estate administration that can be confusing and complicated for just about any person.

If you have any questions or concerns about serving as the executor of an estate, you can discuss the situation and your options with an experienced estate planning attorney. He or she can provide you with the answers and direction you need to fulfill your duties and ensure your loved one's estate affairs are handled appropriately.

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