At Clarity Legal Group®, we build our estate planning around the goals of our clients. These goals can be very personal, but they almost always include making things easy for those who are left behind. Planning to avoid the court supervised process for administering estates known as probate is a key approach to making things easy.
The fact that we help clients avoid probate doesn’t mean we aren’t prepared to help people through the challenges of probate when necessary. In fact, this is a big part of what the lawyers and professional staff at Clarity Legal Group® do. Whether as Durham probate lawyers, Chapel Hill probate lawyers, or Wake County probate lawyers, at Clarity Legal Group® we will provide you with help if you are asked to serve as the executor of an estate. Being the executor of an estate is a big responsibility and you want to make sure that you understand exactly what is involved in serving as executor if you’re asked to take on this responsibility. You also want to make sure that you get the right legal help to fulfill your obligations and make sure the probate process goes smoothly.
What Executors Need to Know About Probate
If you’ve been asked to serve as an executor, here are a few key things you need to know about the probate process:
- The process can take a long time to complete. According to Investopedia, it will typically take around a year. During this time, you will be responsible as the executor for going to court hearings when required, as well as for managing the assets held within the estate.
- You will have a fiduciary duty: You have a duty to act with reasonable care when managing estate assets during the probate process. You also have an obligation to refrain from enriching yourself at the expense of the estate or from misusing any assets belonging to the estate that you are in charge of managing. If you don’t fulfill your obligations, you could find yourself facing legal action.
- You have many responsibilities as the executor of an estate. Not only do you need to file court paperwork and manage the assets that the estate owns, but you also need to take many other steps during the probate process as well. For example, you will need to provide notice to creditors and to interested parties about the probate proceedings. You’ll need to file tax forms with the IRS and take care of the estate’s tax obligations. You’ll need to manage estate assets, and will need to make an accounting of the assets held within the estate — and you may need to initiate a process for finding missing assets. And this is just a partial list of some of the things that you may have to do.
Because there is so much involved in serving as the executor of an estate, you need to think carefully about whether you want to take on that role or not. When someone has named you as the executor in a last will and testament, you are not actually required to serve as executor. You are not officially the executor until appointed by the court, and the court will appoint you only if you are willing and able to accept the responsibilities.
If you are named executor under the will be decline to serve, the court will appoint the successor named under the will, or if not is named, a separate administrator of the estate. While you may want to serve as executor because you feel like you owe it to the deceased, you shouldn’t do it if you don’t think you have the time to give the job the required attention.
How the Probate Lawyers at Clarity Legal Group® Can Help
The good news is, if you are asked to serve as executor of an estate anywhere in the Triangle area, you do not have to handle the probate process on your own. There is help available to assist you in fulfilling your obligations, ensuring that the wishes of the deceased are respected, and making the intended transfer of wealth to new owners happen as quickly and effectively as possible.
Clarity Legal Group® Probate Attorneys have experience with the process, knowledge of the rules and the documents to be filed, and can walk you through the legal technicalities and formal financial processes as you try to cope with the grief of losing a loved one. Our aim is to take care of the technical processes for you and to take as much off your shoulders as possible so you can get the help and support necessary to relieve the stress of dealing with things at this challenging time.
To find out more about the assistance a compassionate and knowledgeable probate lawyer at Clarity Legal Group® can provide you, give us a call at 919-484-0012 or contact us online today.
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