The passing of a loved one is a time filled with grief and remembrance. Your family member may have played an important role in your life, and you want to do what you can to help him or her during this final transition period. If you were named the Executor of your loved one’s estate, you can take pride knowing that you were the individual entrusted with taking care of all of their dispersal and financial obligations. While this task may be an honor for many people, it’s important to remember that the job at hand can be very labor-intensive and stressful in many cases, especially if you are grieving. It’s important to have a clear plan and working knowledge of Maryland estate law, which is where our Bethesda estate planning attorneys can be very valuable.

JDKatz proudly serves as your team of estate lawyers in Maryland, providing comprehensive assistance to our clients with the sole intention of the optimizing the outcome of their situations. We strive to help our clients in any way possible, which is why today’s blog will continue to cover a few common FAQs for individuals who are designated as the Executor of an estate. From establishing living trusts to wills and probate litigation, we’re here to create the best outcome for you and your family!

Am I Compensated for my Duties?

Being an Executor is hard work, and the intensive duties of this position makes financial compensation a normal occurrence. Typically, you will be paid for your time and effort from the estate itself, and the amount paid is often set forth in the estate plan. If the state decides that you are not being adequately compensated, it can grant you additional compensation for your efforts. Generally, Maryland follows a percentage rule according to the value of the estate, where Executors are compensated:

  • 9 percent for the first $20,000
  • 3.6 percent on anything over $20,000

While many people think of being the personal representative of the deceased as a lucrative venture, it’s important to remember that taking care of the estate in question can be an intensive process that takes a lot of work and attention to detail to complete.

How Long Does it Take to Complete an Estate?

Completing an estate is no easy process, and individuals expecting a quick couple of months’ worth of effort will quickly learn that that timeframe will generally be between one and two years. Every case is different, with many varying factors such as the complexity of wishes in the will or the comprehensiveness of the estate plan. Being the Executor does not mean that you will work on the estate on a daily basis, but remember that this complex legal process can take time. You will be working with a number of different government agencies such as the Department of Revenue, requiring long periods of review before the work you’ve done is approved.

Do I Have to Follow the Will Exactly?

In many cases, the Executor will find an issue with the inheritance and look to adjust it appropriately to either a) be more fair to the beneficiaries, or b) to take a larger portion for themselves. If you feel that you are not receiving fair compensation, it’s important to remember that the will you are working with must be followed as the written rule of your loved one’s last wishes. As the Executor, it falls on you to notify all interested parties as to the conditions of the last will and testament. Your power as the Executor means that you’ll be under a microscope throughout the probate process, and changes cannot be made based on your personal preferences.

Do I Need an Estate Planning Attorney?

The simplest answer is no, you do not need an attorney to serve as the Executor of an estate. However, it’s important to remember that any small errors throughout the administration process can leave you liable for a litany of problems. Estate planning is a complex process that often requires the help of experienced advisors to help create an efficient and durable plan. In many cases, Executors fall behind simply due to the large amount of content and regulations to cover. It can prove wholly beneficial to hire an estate planning attorney in Bethesda to guide you through this complex process, and JDKatz is here to help.

Our Maryland estate lawyers are here to offer guidance and counseling through every aspect of estate law to ensure that you are argued with the knowledge and confidence needed to create quality estate plans that plan for the future. When done correctly, an estate plan can help to avoid a wide host of problems for your family, leading to undue stress and an outcome that is far different than what your will stated. If you need help with estate planning in Bethesda or Washington D.C., be sure to contact us today for a consultation!