Have a loved one asked you to serve as the executor of his or her estate? If so, you are in a position that many people in Florida and across the country find themselves. In some cases, individuals will accept this role without thinking about what the job fully entails, and that action could turn into a mistake.
If you have asked your loved one for time to consider the request, you have taken a wise route. Before agreeing to the position while thinking that the responsibilities are far off or that they will not be too involved, you may want to gain information on what being an executor entails and assess your personal capabilities.
What is an executor?
An executor serves a major purpose after a loved one's passing. The executor will need to manage the final affairs of the estate and ensure that any open issues are settled appropriately. These obligations include seeing the estate through the legal process of probate, ensuring that financial responsibilities of the estate receive attention and distributing assets to beneficiaries, just to name a few tasks. An executor is the representative for the estate.
What do you need to know about yourself?
Acting as an executor can take a greater personal toll than some parties may realize. In fact, at times, being the executor can seem as if you have a full-time job on top of your already existing employment and personal obligations. As a result, you may need to ask yourself the following questions before agreeing to be an executor:
- Do you have a relatively calm temperament that would suit handling conflict, interacting with beneficiaries, and dealing with considerable stress and pressure?
- Do you have the time to take on all of the essential tasks of completing the probate process, which include but are not limited to gathering assets, filing estate taxes and representing the estate during litigation?
- Do you have the skills, experience and knowledge to handle financial, legal and personal aspects of settling another person's affairs?
This information and these questions may seem daunting, but probate is an intensive process. If you do not feel well suited to the position, you may wish to decline. Of course, you may also want to remember that you can obtain help throughout the process if you do accept the role by working with a probate attorney.