Were you listed as the executor of an estate that is going through probate? If so, you may be wondering what you are allowed to do as the executor.
Here are some tips that will help you through the process.
You Cannot Do Anything Before The Person Passes Away
An executor is only given power once someone passes away. You are not given any power as an executor by simply being named as one. Those powers are only given to you when the person passes away and the will goes through the probate process. This means that you are not allowed to make financial decisions for a person if they are still alive, such as managing the estate or finances.
You Must Start The Probate Process
As the executor, it is your responsibility to start the probate process. This is crucial, since the will is verified as being the final will of the deceased, and the legal process can begin with settling the estate. If you do not want to be the executor, you must pass on the responsibility to somebody else so that they can start the probate process.
You Must Follow The Provisions Of The Will
Anybody that is the executor of a state that has a will is essentially performing the wishes of the deceased for them. They are going to help with things like paying debts, selling property, and giving people their inheritance as indicated in the will. They must stick to the provisions of the will, and cannot do things that have not been specifically stated.
You Must Act In The Interest Of The Beneficiaries
Every executor has a fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries of the estate, which can even include themselves if they are also a beneficiary. This means that you need to take care of all the assets as if they were your own assets. This involves securing the home so that people cannot access the property, securing assets so that they can be distributed, and things of that nature. You cannot perform actions that would benefit yourself, or give yourself more than what you are allowed to have as a beneficiary.
For example, you may have to sell assets to pay off debts that the estate has. You cannot sell assets to yourself so that you have them, and you cannot sell assets below the fair market value that they are worth.
To learn more about this process, consult with a probate attorney.