Serving as the executor for a loved one who has passed on can feel like a very heavy task. There are many potential complications you need to be aware of as you settle the decedent’s estate. Not only do you have to identify all the assets that were in their name, but you also have to pay all the creditors.

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There are specific tasks which the executor must accomplish, as explained in the following post:

An executor is appointed under a will. The executor is responsible for the administration of the estate, identifying the assets and liabilities, protecting the estate during the course of administration, proving the will and, once the grant has issued to collect in the assets in the estate, discharging all liabilities and accounting to the beneficiaries for their inheritance/bequests.

There is no obligation on an executor to act. After the death of a testator the executor must decide whether to act or renounce (step aside). A decision to renounce should be taken early on before any action can be deemed to be intermeddling. If an executor has intermeddled in the estate they may only renounce with the consent of the High Court. If an executor renounces they cannot get involved in the estate at a later date. Read more at Homs Solicitors…

Once you accept the executor role, you will be required to manage the estate responsibly, since the beneficiaries can sue you for mismanagement.

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Even so, there’s no need to get yourself worked up, since you are not the first to take on such a responsibility. The good news is you can get information on how to fulfill your mandate from the will. You therefore have to study it to understand its directives, as explained in the next post:

It is very important to read and understand the will or trust so you will know who the beneficiaries are, what they are to receive and when, and who, if any, your co-fiduciaries are.

Does the will give everything outright, or does it create new trusts that may continue for several years? Does a trust mandate certain distributions (“All income earned each year is to be paid to my wife, Nancy”) or does it leave this to the trustee’s discretion (“My trustee shall distribute such income as she believes is necessary for the education and support of my son, Alan, until he reaches age 25”)? The document often imparts important directions to the fiduciary, such as which assets should be used to pay taxes and expenses. The document will usually list the fiduciary’s powers in some detail. Read more at American Bar…

As an executor, you can be referred to as a fiduciary, since you’re playing your role for the benefit of someone else.

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You don’t have to handle this task on your own if you feel you don’t have the capacity to handle it. An attorney can assist you to understand your role as stipulated in the will. This is explained further in the following post:

While heirs or beneficiaries should have an attorney representing them because it is their inheritance which is at stake during the probate proceedings, they do not have an active role to play in filing court paperwork, taking care of tax issues and managing the probate process. It is the executor (sometimes referred to as the personal representative or administrator) of an estate who is responsible for the probate and therefore it is the executors who should strongly consider hiring legal help.

While executors aren’t required by law to hire an attorney to guide them through the probate process, they have a fiduciary duty and must fulfill their role as executor properly once they agree to take on the substantial responsibility this entails. Read more at Parman Law…

As an executor, you want to ensure that assets are not lost on your watch, as you can be forced to make up for any losses incurred.


At Meek Law Firm, you will get the best legal advice to perform your executor role effectively. To learn more or discuss your specific needs, call Jonathan Meek today at (704) 848-6335 or complete the contact form on our website. We look forward to assisting you.