Probate lawyers can provide help to anyone involved in the probate process. Heirs or beneficiaries should get proper legal help to make sure that their inheritance is managed properly during this process, and those who believe a will is not a valid reflection of the wishes of the deceased should also get legal help to ensure they have the best chance to contest a will and win their argument.
The most important person who needs to get legal help, however, is the executor of an estate. The executor has many important responsibilities during the probate process and needs to ensure that those responsibilities are properly fulfilled. Unsworth LaPlante, PLLC can help.
Our probate lawyers have represented executors in all different types of probate proceedings and we can help whether the estate is a large one or a small one. To find out more about the assistance that we can provide, give us a call today. You can also read on to find out about some key facts that executors want probate lawyers to know.
You Have to be Appointed Executor
Many people mistakenly assume that if a last will and testament names them as the executor of an estate, they are automatically and immediately vested with the rights and the responsibilities of an executor. This is not the case.
You actually have to be appointed as executor of an estate in order to have legal rights and in order to have legal obligations that you are expected to fulfill. There are circumstances in which people who have been named as the executor of an estate decide they do not want to fulfill this role and decline to be appointed as the executor. If you don’t want to be the executor, the court will appoint an estate administrator or personal representative to fulfill the role that an executor would normally fulfill in overseeing the administration of the deceased person’s estate.
The Probate Process is Going to Take Around a Year
Another thing that comes as a big surprise to people who act as the executor of an estate is that the probate process takes a really long time. In fact, it typically takes around a year for probate to be completed, according to Investopedia. During this entire time, you have duties and obligations including taking care of assets, complying with court requests, and coming to periodic court hearings. If you do not want to deal with all of these obligations, you may not want to be executor of the estate.
Executors Have Lots of Responsibilities
It often comes as a surprise to people who have been named executor of an estate exactly what their obligations are during probate. Not only do executors have to deal with filing court paperwork and handling court proceedings but they also need to be in charge of managing all assets of the estate. In addition to these requirements, they also have to take care of tax issues – including getting a tax ID for the estate in some circumstances – and need to provide notice of the probate proceedings to interested parties.
All of this is a lot of work and you should make sure if you serve as executor of an estate that you are represented by an experienced attorney who can help you to fulfill your obligations.
You’ll Have a Fiduciary Duty
Those who serve as executor of an estate have a fiduciary duty to fulfill their responsibilities. A fiduciary duty is the highest duty owed within the legal system. Those who breach a fiduciary duty could potentially be sued and held personally liable. You could be accused of breaching your duty if you were negligent or if you acted to hurt the estate in your own self-interest.
Getting Help from Probate Lawyers
Probate lawyers at Unsworth LaPlante, PLLC can help you to fulfill your responsibilities as executor of an estate so you can honor the wishes of the deceased, fulfill your fiduciary duty, and ensure an inheritance is both cared for and transferred to heirs or beneficiaries in a timely manner.
To find out more about the ways in which Unsworth LaPlante, PLLC can help you go through the probate process, join us for a free seminar. You can also give us a call at (802) 879-7133 or contact us online at any time to get personalized help from a compassionate and knowledgeable member of our legal team.