When you are appointed as the executor of an estate, it is important to review the instructions from the person who created this document.
When you create your own estate, you leave behind instructions for how your property should be distributed when you pass away, but you also nominate a person to administer your estate. This executor plays an important role in gathering all of your estate property, making distributions to will beneficiaries and paying estate debts.
In order for a will to be classified as legally valid and effective, it needs to be submitted to a court for probate. Whether or not an executor should use an attorney to shepherd the will through the process of probate might differ from one state to another.
For example, in New Jersey, it can make sense to retain a probate lawyer right away if the estate is complex. However, there are other states where it is the executor’s discretion about whether or not he or she intends to hire someone to assist with the administration of the estate. It is a good idea to retain an experienced and knowledgeable attorney when going through this process.
An attorney can play an important role in explaining the process to the person appointed as executor and can help to answer any questions that emerge in this early phase of estate planning. Scheduling a consultation with a trusted estate planning lawyer can be instrumental in helping you to accomplish your intentions.