Articles Tagged with Personal Representative

12.18.19Being named as an executor is a big responsibility. Before accepting this role, you should understand what the tasks are, and what you need to be careful about to protect yourself.

It’s flattering. Someone you know thinks highly enough of you to name you as their executor. That means they believe you’re ready and able to do things like settle debts, gather assets, manage estate tax and income tax returns, deal with your family members, distribute the assets and do everything that needs to be done before the estate can be settled.

However, Investopedia’s article from last summer, “5 Surprising Hazards of Being an Executor,” explains that the person named as an executor isn’t required to accept the appointment. Prior to agreeing to act as an executor, you should know some of the hazards that can result, as well as how you can address some of these potential issues, so that being an executor can run smoothly.

8.7.19Being named an executor for someone you care about is an honor. It means they trust you and your judgment explicitly. However, it is an honor that comes with responsibilities.

The role of an executor varies with the size and complexity of the estate. The executor is charged with making sure that all final arrangements are made, according to the decedent’s wishes. The executor is also involved with making sure that the distribution of property as directed in the will takes place, taxes are paid and more. It’s a big job. Before agreeing to take on this role, you’ll need to know what it entails, and be confident that you can do it. An article from Investopedia, “5 Things to Consider Before Becoming an Estate Executor” explains the details.

  1. Complexity of the Estate. Typically, the larger the estate—which can be in terms of property, possessions, assets or the number of beneficiaries—the harder and more time consuming it will be. The best way to see how difficult the job will be, is to request to see a copy of the current will. If there are obvious red flags, like unequal distributions to children or trusts or annuities, it may be best to say no.

6.10.19Despite early reports that she had no will, it seems the Queen of Soul spent a fair amount of time creating three wills to provide for her four sons and leaving behind some strong opinions of the people in her circles. She just didn’t share those wills with her attorney.

When Aretha Franklin died of pancreatic cancer last August, it seemed that she had joined the ranks of  many celebrities who never created their wills or thought much about what they wanted their legacy to be.

The Detroit News’s recent article, “Handwritten wills found in Aretha Franklin home favor her four sons” reports that three handwritten wills have been discovered in one of her homes.

7.13.18Having a will prepared is a gift of kindness to your loved ones. They will appreciate the effort to care for them, after you’ve passed on.

If you need another reason to have a will prepared, consider the potential for conflict among loved ones who will have to guess about what your wishes were during a very difficult time. You can spare them that distress, by preparing your will and estate plan in advance.

US News & World Report’s article, “10 Steps to Writing a Will,” says that if you've been procrastinating on completing the task, here's your opportunity to cross it off your list. You can get going with these simple steps.

7.2.18Without a will, decisions about your life, property and children will be made by someone who does not know you or your family. With a will, you have the ability to express your wishes. You need a will!

Having a will is not just for wealthy folks, who need to pass large amounts of money across generations. It is a legal document that protects you while you are living, protects minor children if you die and also distributes property after you pass. Less than half of all adults in America have an estate plan, according to a 2017 survey by Caring.com, and what’s worse, only 36% with children under the age of 18 have a will.

Inside Indiana Business’ recent article, “With a Will, It's Done Your Way,” explained that if you die without a will (i.e., intestate), the law of the state where you reside determines how your property will be distributed. For example, in Indiana, here’s what happens:

5.24.18Don’t delay finalizing your estate plan, because determining who to name as your executor is difficult. Here’s some help to figure out how to make this important decision.

If there are no family members or friends with the necessary skills, your best option may be to name your attorney as the third-party executor of your will. A useful article from nj.com, “Who should be executor of your will?” explains how this works.

An executor is a person you name in your will or who is appointed by the court and is given the legal responsibility to address a deceased person's remaining financial obligations. An executor is responsible for paying debts and creditors, filing tax returns, paying taxes, and distributing the estate's assets, pursuant to the deceased person's wishes as stated in the will.

4.9.18Before he died, the owner of the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans gave millions of dollars of property to his daughter and her children, but they were not included in his last will and testament.

The last will of multi-millionaire Tom Benson, who owned several professional sports teams and other businesses, did not include his daughter and her children, according to an article from KPVI, “Though excluded from his will, Tom Benson's daughter and grandchildren received much from family patriarch.”

Following Benson's death, court records indicate that his third wife Gayle became the sole beneficiary of an estate controlling New Orleans' NFL and NBA franchises, as well as the Dixie Brewing Co. There were other valuable businesses or properties in the estate: three car dealerships, the site of Benson Tower and Champions Square, a $3.6 million Uptown mansion, a racing stable and a parking lot used by fans attending Saints or Pelicans games.

CalendarAn executor of an estate can easily get into trouble for not doing certain things, but an executor can also find themselves in trouble if they do certain things. An experienced estate planning attorney can help with navigating the do’s and don’ts of the executor’s tasks.

There are no lack of guidelines to help an executor or personal representative of an estate to understand the specific tasks and responsibilities that he or she has when managing an estate. Most guides, available online, at personal finance websites, in magazines and books, are written with an eye to the positive and provide a good outline of the tasks that need to be taken.

That can leave a lot of important information out, however, if the executor is not also given advice about what not to do doing during the process.

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