Acting as the executor or personal representative of anyone’s estate comes with significant responsibilities. Completing all of these duties can be complicated and typically requires the assistance of an experienced estate administration attorney who can guide you through the probate process and prepare the legal documents that you are required to submit to the probate court.
The executor is responsible for initiating the probate court proceedings by opening the estate for probate, which generally requires procuring a death certificate and an original copy of your mother’s will. Next, the executor’s task typically is to inventory all probate property and its value. In order to determine an item’s value, particularly in the case of jewelry or antiques, for example, you may have to have the items appraised. This can involve a fair amount of research into your mother’s finances and assets to ensure that you have included everything in the inventory. Additionally, the executor must secure all of the deceased person’s assets, meaning that you must safeguard the assets and prevent them from decreasing in value. As a result of these responsibilities, the executor owes a fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries of your mother’s will, which means that the executor always must act in a way that is in the best interests of the beneficiaries. Allowing assets to be spent, decrease in value, or distributing certain items to a beneficiary early on in the process can result in a breach of an executor’s fiduciary duty.
The executor of an estate also is responsible for determining any individuals or entities to whom your mother owes debts, giving notice to those creditors, and paying out any valid legal debts that are owed. Once all valid debts are paid, the executor is responsible for closing out the estate by distributing the remaining assets in accordance with the terms of the will and letting the probate court know that he or she has disposed of all assets as per the will provisions.
As you can see, serving as an executor is an important role that gives you important responsibilities. If you are in need of assistance with a loved one’s estate following his or her death, no matter what the situation may be, we have the knowledge and resources to assist you. Call Legacy Law Center today and learn how our Michigan estate administration attorneys can advocate on your behalf.
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