If you recently lost a loved one, you may have received a surprise when you read his or her will. Your Tennesee family member may have appointed you as the executor of the estate. Now, you face the prospect of being held responsible for the probate of the will. What can you expect if you accept this appointment?
One of the first responsibilities you will have is to inventory all the property that makes up your loved one’s estate. During the course of the probate, you will be responsible for taking care of these assets until they can be distributed in accordance with the will, which is one of the last tasks you will perform. You will also need to notify all your loved one’s creditors, heirs and beneficiaries of the death and probate. Other tasks include paying off debts and claims of the estate and filing any tax returns required by law.
Many probates proceed smoothly and can be complicated with a minimum of fuss. However, other issues could arise that could complicate it. A spouse, heir, beneficiary or creditor could make a claim that will delay the proceedings. For instance, someone could claim that the deceased was unduly influenced into executing a will, that he or she did not have the mental capacity to execute the will or make some other claim that may require litigation to resolve. These types of issues will delay the closing of the estate and prolong your service.
Even if a probate goes smoothly, most people do not understand the intricacies of the process, and there is no reason to since they do not handle these types of duties on a regular basis. If a mistake is made, it can also delay the distribution of property and closing of the estate, plus open you up for personal liability in some instances. It would be to your benefit to consult with an experienced attorney to help you through this process in as efficient and timely manner as possible so that everyone involved can move forward with their lives.