Everything an Executor of an Estate Should Know

Whether you are a close friend or relative, you have been identified by your loved one to take on a most important responsibility.  Once you have determined that you are up for the task of estate executor, it’s likely that you are committed to carrying out your loved ones final wishes in the way they would have wanted. You have taken on a huge undertaking. By following some simple tips to enduring probate, carrying out your duties and knowing what you should avoid, can be helpful in ensuring that the process goes smoothly. Accessing the advice and services of an attorney can prove to be helpful in working your way through the process of carrying out the estate plan of a loved one.

Enduring Probate

It can be emotionally taxing to take on the responsibility as estate executor. Enduring the probate process will take endurance and perseverance. An attorney will be particularly useful in providing you with the legal advice and direction you require. In situations of intensive familial conflict, an attorney can help you navigate them and hopefully determine ways to a resolution as quickly as possible. Enduring probate will require that you are balanced and responsible. The process can be stressful; you will want to be sure that throughout you are taking proper care of yourself.

Tips for Executors

As an executor, you shoulder an incredible weight. You will want to ensure that you have managed a person’s estate in the way they would have wanted. The following are tips that can help the process go smoothly:

  • Seek out the experience and knowledge of an attorney. They can guide you and support you while you initiate probate.
  • Locate the will and a copy of the death certificate.
  • Find what is known as letters of testamentary. These are letters from probate giving the executor permission to make decisions on behalf of the estate.
  • Pay any estate debts
  • Before closing the estate, make sure that you have completed all of your assigned tasks.

Common Mistakes an Executor Can Make

As an executor to someone else’s estate, the last thing you want to do is make a mistake in the process. Heirs will likely be relying upon you to not only carry out the wishes of their loved one, but also ensure that they receive their inheritances as quickly as possible.  Here are mistakes an executor is vulnerable to making without the guidance of an attorney to help them along the way:

Not consulting with an attorney. By not doing so, you put yourself at risk of making pretty significant mistakes.

It can be tempting to disburse assets prematurely. Although this could satisfy heirs to the estate, it could ultimately be a bad move in the end. If there are outstanding debts that come up, you could be held responsible for paying them.

Not posting notice of the estate. It’s important for creditors to be made aware.

It can be overwhelming when you have first taken on the responsibility to know where to turn. An estate planning law firm Ridgefield, CT trusts can walk you through the process so that you can close out the estate of your loved as quickly as possible.



Thank you to our contributors at Sweeney Legal, LLC for their insight into executors and estate planning.