Closing out the estate of a loved one after their passing is easier said than done. You may assume that acting as an executor of an estate is straightforward, but you’ll soon come to find that nothing could be further from the truth.
You should understand what you’re getting into if you agree to be the executor of an estate. Before we go any further, remember this: You don’t have to agree to this. Even if you’d like to help a loved one out, you can always decline their invitation to act as executor.
Here are some things you need to remember :
- It takes time: Don’t assume that it only takes a couple weeks to figure everything out. With a complex estate plan, for example, you could find yourself working as an executor for a year or longer. From phone calls to trips to the courthouse, there’s a lot on your plate.
- You must have the right skills: Almost anyone can act as an executor, but having the right skills will go a long way in making the process easier on you. In addition to organizational skills, you should have a basic understanding of finances.
- Your temperament is important: As the process unwinds, you’ll find yourself dealing with all sorts of people. Some of them are friendly. Some of them are mean. And some of them are looking to take advantage of you. An even temperament allows you to deal with anyone and everyone you come in contact with.
- Legal knowledge can help: You don’t need a law degree to act as an executor, but it helps if you have a basic understanding of probate and/or trust administration.
When you understand these points, it’s easier to decide for or against taking on the responsibility of an executor.
If you’re going through this process and have questions, take a step back to get an overview of your situation. The last thing you want to do is make a rash decision, as you could be held personally liable for any mistake.
Acting as an executor is a big responsibility, so treat it as such. If you require any additional information, such as the steps you should take, visit our website for assistance.