The May 2013 AARP Bulletin has an excellent article about being an executor of an estate. The article urges that anyone who is going to make that promise or take on that responsibility should know the practical aspects of the job they are signing up to do. Specifically, anyone who is going to accept an appointment as executor should first ask himself/herself whether they have the time, skills, temperament and knowledge to do this, or have the willingness to learn.
Help is available. In addition to general information online, some probate courts have booklets and other resources available to those who are serving as Executor (also called “Personal Representative”). Be aware that these resources are going to be state-specific so you need to be sure that any information you rely on is valid in the state of the probate case.
Attorneys can also help. For instance, when we have drafted a will for a client and that person later dies, the family often comes back to our firm and hires us to help with the distribution of the estate and probate process (when probate court is necessary). We also see families for the first time after the death of a loved one. So an executor can seek an attorney’s help with the estate whether or not that attorney is the same one who drafted the will.
To see the AARP article, click here.