Estate planning is one task that can provide a wide range of benefits for your estate and your loved ones in the event of your passing. While most people feel uncomfortable planning for their deaths, navigating the field of estate law can help you to create order and support for family members at the time of your death. Writing a will is one way to create security and clarity for your estate, but the power of your last will and testament may rely entirely on the clarity and organization of your Executor. This all-important individual is responsible for taking care of the deceased’s financial obligations at the time of their death to ensure that every part of the estate is in order. If a loved one has named you as the Executor in their will, you may feel honored, stressed, and probably a little confused. JDKatz is proud to provide quality services for our client’s wills and estates, delivering clarity and guidance through the complex field of estate law. Our estate lawyers in Maryland have the experience and knowledge needed to help in creating optimal outcomes in a wide range of subjects, from living trusts to tax litigation and more.
While our estate planning attorneys in Bethesda are ready to offer expert assistance, we cannot serve as the Executor on your behalf. That is why today’s blog will highlight a few common questions we hear about being the Executor. If you’re in need of support at any level in your estate planning process, be sure to give our team a call for assistance!
Do I Have to be the Executor?
Serving as the Executor for your loved one is a challenging position, as individuals with this responsibility must be organized, patient, and must have the free time to completely take care of their family member’s lifelong financial affairs. All of these affairs must be taken care of in a precise and professional manner to avoid any legal hiccups through the will or probate process. Because of all the complexities of the position, you do not have to accept an offer to be the Executor for your family member. If a successor is named in the will, you can simply deny the offer and allow the job to transfer to that individual. If no other successors are named, though, the state must step in to designate an agent.
Do I Have to go to the Courthouse to Officially Administer the Estate?
In order to begin your process as the Executor (or personal representative), you will need to file the Last Will in the Register of Wills office. This process begins the task of checking your loved one’s estate and starting the probate process and starts with a petition that you will need to submit to properly open the estate. A Notice of Appointment (Form 1114) will need to be submitted with this petition to appoint you as the Executor. Once this is done, the Register of Wills office will post a weekly notice for three weeks to inform the public of your intention to be the personal representative and allow enough time for individuals to file objections. Every situation varies, though, so be sure check with your local estate planning attorneys for assistance!
I’ve Been Named as a Co-Executor. What does this Mean?
In cases where differing views are needed or if the estate involves a complex plethora of different elements, it can prove beneficial to name Co-Executors. This happens a lot of times with siblings and close relatives who the Testator expects to work well together to quickly and efficiently take care of their estate. If you are named with another Executor, it’s important to remember that you both have absolute authority over the estate. You will need to work together with the other individual on every decision, from sharing information to interested parties to signing checks for people from the estate. In many cases, one Executor will arrive for instructions, only to find that the other party must be present. If you’re named as a Co-Executor, it’s important to reach out and develop a thorough plan with the other individual. Having a Co-Executor on the other side of the country, for example, can create serious complications!
Being named the Executor of an estate is a big responsibility, and one that requires accuracy for appointments, deadlines, and other obligations that will fall on you to accomplish. Next time, we’ll continue on this topic by highlighting a few more frequently asked questions that our firm receives from personal representatives. If you’re in need of an estate lawyer in Maryland, JDKatz is here and ready to help. Our estate law professionals are trained in a wide range of legal services to ensure a quality outcome for your needs. As Bethesda’s top estate planning attorneys, we’re here and ready to guide you through each step of planning for the future of your family. Contact us today to see how we can help.