People can pay tribute to you in many ways. They can tell people how wonderful you are, make a donation in your honor to your favorite charity or name their children after you. Your loved one may have felt he or she bestowed a great honor on you by naming you as an estate executor.
While it is an honor that your loved one considers you trustworthy enough to handle his or her final wishes, being an estate executor is also a heavy burden. Once they learn just how much the job entails, many people politely decline.
Duties with drawbacks
If you have agreed to be the executor of someone's estate, you may wish to know the downside so that you can be prepared to handle any rough patches. Some of the most common hazards of executing an estate include the following:
- Disagreements with co-executors: If you are one of several siblings, and Mom or Dad named all of you to work together, you may find yourself disputing vital decisions, such as what to do with your loved one's house. The working relationship may also be complicated if any of your siblings live out of town.
- Difficulties with potential heirs: Some relatives may not realize or appreciate the legal process that must evolve before the estate can distribute assets. You may be in the awkward position of stopping heirs from taking what they want from your loved one's house before probate has even begun.
- Time commitment: Notifying debt holders, the Social Security Administration, tax authorities, banks and other agencies of your loved one's death will likely require you to take off work or spend time away from your family or other responsibilities.
- Financial responsibility: Rather than go through the hassle of taking money from the estate to pay for expenses the estate may incur while in probate, you may find yourself covering the cost from your own pocket.
If you are an organized person who can keep matters under control and handle pressure with grace, you may not flinch at the work involved in being the executor of your loved one's estate.
Doing your part with a little help
Despite the flattery you may feel after your loved one taps you to act as executor of his or her estate, you do not have to handle the responsibilities alone. You may wonder if you will be letting your loved one down by seeking assistance in managing the business of probate. However, having the right support will improve the chances that the estate will be handled according your loved one's wishes.
In some instances, you may be required to have an attorney to work with you as executor. However, even if this is not mandatory, the in-depth knowledge of an experienced attorney will be invaluable as you shoulder the complex burden of estate administration.