When you make a Last Will and Testament, you need to consider who you want to serve as the executor, or personal representative, of your estate. The executor will be responsible not only for seeing your Will through the probate process, but also managing your assets. As the probate process may take approximately one year, choosing the right person is a key decision if you want to protect assets and ensure heirs or beneficiaries inherit the maximum value of assets.
Sinclair Prosser Gasior can help executors fulfill their obligations. If you are making your estate plan, we can advise you on what role executors will play in keeping your wealth safe so you can make the best choice about who to name for the role.
Managing estate assets can be one of the most difficult parts of an executor’s job after a death has occurred. An executor has a fiduciary duty to act responsibly in connection with the marshalling and control of the assets. If an executor is negligent in managing assets, or if an executor misappropriates estate funds, the executor could be sued by heirs or beneficiaries for breach of fiduciary duty if they suffer losses to the value of their inheritance because of the executor’s actions.
An executor needs to understand the different obligations in connection with the management of assets during the probate process. This includes accounting for all of the assets in the probate estate and taking steps to collect on outstanding debts that are owed to the deceased person. Also, the decedent’s debts must be handled in the appropriate manner, which includes determining the priority of payment to creditors and reviewing time frames for claims to be made against the estate.
Executors are responsible for addressing the tax issues that arise as a result of the death of the property owner and that arise as a result of the transfer of assets. Therefore, executors will need to obtain a tax identification number for the applicable estate entities, and file required paperwork with the tax authorities. Also, executors need to facilitate the formal process of transferring assets to heirs or beneficiaries, which typically involves changing titles and deeds.
Sinclair Prosser Gasior can provide invaluable assistance if you have been named as executor to ensure you maintain your fiduciary duties and safeguard assets in the estate until administration is complete.