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  • Executor of estate?

    My dad just informed me that he named me the executor of his estate in his will.

    Has anyone else served this role for a parent/have some advice? Encountered anything unexpected that I should consider?

    I am honored that he trusts me with this role but am not sure where/how to start going about it. My father has done a very good job saving money, but unfortunately has not done an equally great job documenting where all of his money is.

  • #2




    My dad just informed me that he named me the executor of his estate in his will.

    Has anyone else served this role for a parent/have some advice? Encountered anything unexpected that I should consider?

    I am honored that he trusts me with this role but am not sure where/how to start going about it. My father has done a very good job saving money, but unfortunately has not done an equally great job documenting where all of his money is.
    Click to expand...


    My advice, FWIW, would be to start to rectify this.  Will make things easier in a very emotional time.

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    • #3
      Depending on size and complexity of estate, and your a priori knowledge of his affairs, this can be either easy or very complex and very time consuming. But of course if you are close to your father, you will do it.

      At a minimum you need to know locations and rough quantity of assets. Any unusual assets you should know even more about, such as overseas bank accounts, commercial property, memberships or ownerships in businesses, LLCs, MLPs, etc. And have a POA for each state you might need to do business in.

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      • #4
        Go to Amazon, search on Estate Executor, and a few books will pop up, including "The Executors Handbook" and estate and trust administration for dummies.  I don't know if they are any good, but that seems like a good place to start.

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        • #5
          I read Executor’s Handbook. It was ok — nothing earth shattering.

          If you’re organized and conscientious you’ll get through it ok. But it makes a big difference if you start with knowing a great deal about the deceased.

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          • #6
            I'm an estate planning and probate attorney.

            If a person is the only beneficiary of an estate, then I recommend that person serve as the person in charge of the estate.

            If there are multiple beneficiaries, and particularly if there is any sense of the beneficiaries not getting along, I recommend that a third-party professional serve as the person in charge of the estate. The benefit to the family of having the outside person in charge is that it lessens family tension, and everyone being upset with the outside person can be a bonding experience for the family.

            If you do take on the role of being in charge of the estate, you can hire other people to do a lot of the work. The benefit to you being appoint in charge versus a third-party, is that if you are in charge then you can easily replace the person doing the work, as you made the hiring decision - versus having that third-party appointed by the court.

            On the practical side with your father, I recommend that at a minimum, he shares two documents with you. The first item is a chart showing how his estate plan is structured. I find a single page chart to be helpful in getting everyone on the same page - and by everyone I mean the lawyer drafting, person executing the will, the person who will be in charge after the person dies, and the beneficiaries. The second item is a worksheet showing all of your father's current assets, ideally with account numbers and how each account is titled (doesn't need to list values as this is to help give you a clear picture as of a certain date what assets your father has to help track down what happened with those accounts at his death).

            Caveat: This is not legal advice. I am not your lawyer. You are not my client. My response to your question is probably worth  what you paid for it. You don't get to sue me for anything. If you'd like to sue me, then you first need to hire me.

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