According to an expert from New Jersey Today, naming an executor for one’s estate is one of the most important decisions that a person can make. After all, someone must remain behind when they die in order to settle their affairs. Many people consider being the executor an honor; some people deem it a chore. In either case, there is a ton of work involved.
The quoted expert noted that, when all of the necessary jobs are considered, being the executor of an estate is a stressful, time-consuming pursuit that requires extreme dedication to the details. In fact, making mistakes may lead to lawsuits or charges against the executor. The short list of what’s involved includes: securing enough death certificates to pass around to the various agencies and institutions that require them, contacting all businesses with whom the deceased had a financial relationship and closing accounts, creating an account in the name of the estate in order to pay bills, filing a copy of the will with the probate court, and disbursing funds and other bequests to each named heir.
The legal quagmire is deep and full of hidden obstacles; therefore, the quoted expert says that hiring a lawyer is essential to be successful as an executor. Even if someone is well-versed in the legal ramifications, having a disinterested pair of eyes check everything over is wise. The expert also notes that if someone asks another to be their executor, there’s no shame in saying no if they feel that it’s beyond their capabilities. It’s far better to say no than to take the job and make mistakes.
A probate lawyer might be able to help someone who’s been named executor or accepted the job on someone else’s behalf. They could check over all documents and file them with the requisite agencies, act on the executor’s behalf if the job becomes overwhelming and offer legal advice.
Source: NJ Today, “Should You Become Executor Of Someone’s Estate?“, Jason Alderman, August 12, 2013