Burlington estate planning attorneys will provide assistance during the probate process. One of the issues that our experienced attorneys help you to address is what your responsibilities are during the probate process. You want to ensure that you fulfill your obligations to the deceased person (the decedent) and that you understand the specific role you must play during probate.
The duties that you have – and the rights that you have – will vary depending upon whether you are the executor of an estate, an heir or beneficiary, someone who wishes to contest a will, or a creditor who is making a claim against the will. Whatever your role, Unsworth LaPlante, PLLC will explain what you must do during probate and how you can protect your legal interests.
Understanding your obligations during the probate process is important because this process can take months and it is vital that the assets of the decedent are protected throughout the entirety of the probate proceedings. All parties involved in probate need to understand who, specifically, is in charge of managing property during probate and what that person’s obligations entail.
Who Takes Care of the Estate’s Assets During the Probate Process?
During the probate process, generally the executor of an estate will take care of all property that is part of the probate estate. The executor of an estate will take care of property not passed through other means, such as through trusts, joint ownership of the property, or pay-on-death accounts. Typically, the person who is named as executor of an estate was chosen by the decedent and named in the will. However, even if a person is named in a will as executor of an estate, the court still actually must appoint that person executor and the person must agree to fulfill this obligation.
If there is no executor of an estate appointed in a will or if the chosen executor cannot fulfill his obligations, a personal representative or estate administrator could be selected by the court instead. This person would act in much the same way as an executor of an estate does in taking care of the property and money the deceased person left behind until that wealth can officially be transferred to new owners once the probate process has been completed.
Obligations in Taking Care of Estate Assets
The executor of an estate or the estate administrator has a fiduciary duty, which means that the person who fulfills this role has the highest duty under the law.
An executor of an estate or estate administrator cannot act in his own best interests or enrich himself at the expense of heirs or beneficiaries by misappropriating estate assets. The executor of an estate or estate administrator who is in charge of managing estate property should also avoid negligent failures to effectively manage the decedent’s wealth that could result in financial loss. An executor of an estate, for example, must make sure to pay the mortgage and property taxes on the property the deceased left behind so the property is not put at risk of being lost.
Unsworth LaPlante, PLLC can explain exactly what obligations an executor of an estate or estate administrator has, based on the specifics of the last will and testament. Our experienced attorneys will also guide those who are in charge of managing estate property so they can ensure they comply with the law and the wishes of the deceased.
Getting Help from Burlington Estate Planning Attorneys
Burlington estate planning attorneys at Unsworth LaPlante, PLLC will help the executor of an estate or the personal administrator to understand what obligations exist during the probate process. Our legal team will also provide assistance with fulfilling the responsibility of caring for the decedent’s property while probate takes place.
If you are an executor of an estate or an estate administrator, you cannot afford to take a chance of letting down beneficiaries, facing allegations you breached your fiduciary duty or failing to ensure the wishes of the deceased are respected. Unsworth LaPlante, PLLC can help to make sure that you don’t make mistakes that could make the probate process harder, cause loss of estate assets or put you at legal risk.
To find out more about how our legal team can help you, join us for a free seminar. You can also give us a call at (802) 879-7133 or contact us online to get personalized advice on all of your estate planning needs. Call today if you’re involved in probate.
Latest posts by Stephen Unsworth (see all)
- Estate Planning for Family Owned Businesses and Farms - March 18, 2019
- What Are the Responsibilities of the Probate Court? - March 6, 2019
- Special Needs Planning and Estate Recovery - January 30, 2019