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You find out you’re the executor. What now?

On Behalf of | Aug 28, 2023 | Probate, Trustees Executors & Fiduciaries |

Your loved one named you as the executor of their will. This is an important role, but if your loved one never informed you of this it can come as quite a shock. If you find yourself in this position, here are a few things to consider.

Evaluate the executor’s duties carefully

Managing your loved one’s affairs and administering the estate involves a long list of tasks and duties. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Taking a full inventory of your loved one’s estate
  • Paying any remaining debts from their estate
  • Completing a considerable amount of paperwork

It is critical that you take a look and evaluate all of the duties involved. You should understand precisely what you will have to do in this role before taking it on. Of course, an experienced probate attorney will be able to help and guide you to ensure all required administrative tasks are properly completed. Even so, you should still make sure you are both able and willing to take on these duties.

Remember: You can decline

Even if your loved one nominated you as the executor of their will, that does not mean you have to take on this role. You have the option to decline.

This can be a stressful prospect. After all, you do not want to let your late loved one or your living family members down. However, in these cases you should put your loved one’s wishes and legacy first.

In a previous blog post, we addressed some of the questions you should ask yourself when faced with this role. If you truly believe that taking on this role would be too much, too stressful or even outside of your capabilities, it is important to:

  • Communicate your decision to the relevant parties as soon as possible
  • Obtain and execute the proper paperwork to decline the role

You should not feel shame or guilt if you feel that you cannot fulfill this role. It is no fault or failing of yours. Acting as an executor and personal representative can be a stressful job. It might not be the right fit for you – and that is okay.