Many people do not know what to expect when serving as an executor for the first time. In many cases, first-time executors must juggle time commitments while also learning how the process works.
While an experienced attorney can help you prepare to fulfill your role as an executor, it also helps to understand some of the most common concerns and obstacles that first time executors end up facing.
Common Duties of Executors
An executor is commonly responsible with handling the finances of a deceased person. Some of the tasks that executors often must perform include:
- Locating, reading, and understanding the deceased person’s will
- Notifying financial agencies of the deceased person’s death
- Deciding the type of probate that is necessary
- Representing the estate in a court of law
- Creating a bank account for any incoming funds as well as any ongoing bills
- Filing an inventory of the estate’s assets with the court
- Maintaining the property until it can be either distributed or sold
- Paying any debts or taxes accrued by the estate
- Distributing assets in accordance to the wishes expressed in a will
Personal Liability Issues
It is important to understand that an executor is held personally liable for any action that they take during the executor process. Inexperienced executors are often not familiar with the estate administration process as well as the complex legal processes that are involved.
As a result, mistakes or errors during this time can not only result in probate delays but an executor might also be held personally responsible for any damages that result.
Not all assets left behind by a deceased person in Oklahoma must proceed through the probate process. In some cases, it is even possible for a person to structure their entire estate to avoid probate. Depending on the exact assets that are involved in an estate, it might be necessary to perform tax reporting.
Safeguarding Estate Assets
An executor must preserve assets until the distribution process. An executor should consider unique assets like artwork or collectibles that could create difficulties in managing an estate. Failure to properly protect these assets could result in a number of unanticipated obstacles.
Family Conflicts can Arise
People commonly select a trusted family member to act as an executor, which can cause conflict or create additional feuds among surviving loved ones. These disputes can in turn add additional strain to an executor’s time as well as resources.
If a person does not feel comfortable with an ongoing conflict among family members, it is possible to resign as an executor and transfer the duties to someone else including an experienced probate attorney.
Speak with an Experienced Probate Attorney Today
Probate is a complex process and executors should perform the necessary research to understand the obstacles and demands that this process entails. The assistance of a professional probate attorney can also greatly help during this difficult time.
Contact attorney Jim A. Lyon today to schedule a free initial consultation and to begin taking steps to make sure that the executor process proceeds smoothly.