No matter how experienced you are in business or the law, serving as an executor of an estate, also known as a personal representative, can be difficult and confusing. Most people have no experience as a personal representative, the person who is responsible for distributing assets to heirs according to the decedent’s wishes, and paying off all legitimate debts. Wrapping up an estate can take up to 18 months in some cases, The New York Times reports.
As with most other things in life, there is now an online option. Many website offer resources like checklists that tell the user what they need to do and when. For instance, many executors may not realize that they traditionally are responsible for planning the funeral or memorial service, though that is not legally required.
After that, the checklist will probably instruct the personal representative to locate the decedent’s will, and order official copies of the death certificate, to provide to government agencies and banks. One online tool suggests requesting those copies from the funeral home or crematory as they are filing the original certificate.
While creating or amending your estate plan, one of your tasks is to choose a personal representative. You can select a family member, like your spouse or child, or you can appoint a professional executor. An attorney can help advise you on the best course of action.
In addition, a probate attorney can help a personal representative who is confused about their duties and does not want to make a mistake. Online tools can help, but a conversation with a lawyer can help you answer specific questions.