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Executors: Avoid mistakes, even the honest sort

Being named executor of an estate can be viewed as an honor. Given the importance of personal assets and property, it takes no small amount of trust to afford the powers of executorship to one or more people.

In the wake of an individual's passing, the named executor (or executors) is given the responsibility of initiating the probate process. At this point, the work begins. Depending on the size of the testator's estate, the amount of time, skill and effort needed to successfully serve as executor can vary significantly.

The first step that must be taken during probate is to take an inventory of the testator's assets and property. If the person accumulated significant assets, tracking down all of them could be a challenge. After all, it's important to ensure that an accurate value of the assets is divided between named beneficiaries.

Assets and property can be disbursed as soon as any claims or debts against the estate are resolved. Depending on how effectively planned an estate is, this step could cut into expected inheritances.

If all of this seems overwhelming, that is perfectly understandable. For a person who is honest and trustworthy, but doesn't have training as an attorney, the work can seem tedious or impossible.

The important thing to remember is that the probate process doesn't have to be completed by the executor alone. An estate planning attorney can provide counsel and advice along the way to help ensure that everything is done in accord with the will and Michigan law.

Above all, executors probably don't want to break the trust that's been placed in them. Unnecessary, costly mistakes or disputes can be avoided by turning to the right resource, and our firm is comfortable providing guidance in this time of need.

Source: To learn more, please visit our firm's page discussing the role executors play during probate.

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