Being named executor to a large estate can be intimidating. Executors are responsible for paying off creditors, distributing assets, and honoring loved ones’ last wishes. But executors don’t have to do it alone. By building an estate administration team of professionals, executors can fulfill their duty to the estate and protect their family or friends’ interests.
Your Estate Administration Team Starts With An Experienced Probate Attorney
Many executors try to do everything themselves to save money. However, doing so exposes them to mistakes, and personal responsibility for errors made on behalf of the estate. Even executors of small estates benefit from the help of an experienced probate attorney. A legal professional can help identify estate creditors, correctly file reports and other court documents, and ensure everything is done on time and in the proper order.
Real Estate Issues Bring On Appraisers And Realtors
Many estates include real property. From the primary home, to vacation cottages and time shares, real estate can make up a large portion of the value of a deceased’s estate. When a loved one leaves substantial debt, creditors can threaten to force the sale of property relatives would rather keep in the family. A probate attorney can often negotiate with creditors to satisfy debts without selling the properties.
When real estate issues come up, executors may need to bring professional appraisers and realtors onto the estate administration team. Appraisers provide the value of the property in question and any repairs that will need to be made before the property can be sold. Executors can use this information to decide which beneficiary will receive the home and what the other beneficiaries should take to balance their interests according to the will. If a property needs to be sold, a Realtor can handle the listing and ensure the family gets a fair price for the property.
Tax Preparers Protect Assets From Estate Taxes
A deceased’s estate is required to file tax returns while the estate is open. Surviving spouses and beneficiaries also need to understand the tax consequence of their inheritance. In some cases, a surviving spouse will need to make a “portability election” to avoid paying expensive estate taxes because of his or her husband or wife’s death.
An experienced tax preparer an important part of the estate administration team. He or she will prepare all the necessary IRS filings and help executors and beneficiaries protect their assets from unnecessary tax consequences.
Financial Advisors Make The Most Of Estate Assets
When a person dies with substantial liquid assets, including bank accounts, stock portfolios, bonds, or life insurance, the executor’s “fiduciary duty” means it is his or her responsibility to make good choices about how those assets are invested to make the most of the money. To meet that duty, an executor may need to hire or work with the deceased’s existing financial advisor. This professional can help the executor understand the consequences of decisions to close accounts, invest in different markets, or hold cash in reserve. He or she can also facilitate the actual disbursement of funds to beneficiaries in ways that make the most sense financially and based on the beneficiary’s maturity and circumstances.
Grief Counselors Acknowledge Executors’ Needs
Most of the estate administration team includes professionals who can do the business of collecting, evaluating, and distributing assets according to the will or trust. However, an estate executor is most often a family member or close friend to the person who died. As the executor sifts through the person’s belongings and manages the estate’s assets, he or she is also dealing with the loss of a loved one. This grief should be taken seriously. If the executor finds that sadness and anger are clouding their decisions, he or she may want to bring a grief counselor onto the estate administration team. This trained mental health professional can help executors work through their grief, along with the stress of administering the estate.
The larger a person’s estate, the larger the estate administration team will likely need to be. Executors can charge the estate for reasonable costs related to their work, including paying for experienced professionals to join their team. That way they can be certain the work is done right.
The Cronin Law Firm has experienced attorneys to aid with whatever legal issue you’re facing. If you need help executing a loved one’s estate, contact the Cronin Law Firm today to schedule a consultation.