If you have been named the executor of a deceased person's estate, you may find yourself with a job that few people are prepared for. You will likely find the assistance of a qualified estate planning attorney helpful, especially if the decedent was wealthy or has a particularly complicated estate.
Being named as executor in a loved one's will is certainly an honor, but it's also far more than that. To take on the role of executor is to take on several important duties, and sometimes liabilities as well. Accordingly, whether you are a newly named executor or are selecting an executor as part of your estate planning, the role of executor deserves your thorough 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 isn't 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.
While no encountered challenge need be insurmountable, it certainly helps to have the assistance and counsel of a professional who navigates these rapids repeatedly. Not surprisingly, the executor should secure the services of competent legal counsel sooner rather than later.