Be informed: Ask questions before becoming an estate executor

On Behalf of | May 3, 2024 | Probate

After losing a close loved one, you’ll want to review their will. If executed properly, it should outline their final wishes and may name a trusted friend or family member to settle their affairs.

Being chosen for this role is a true honor, a testament to the respect and bond that a loved one and their departed family member or friend shared. But if you’ve been named in a loved one’s will, before you accept this honor, ensure you understand the substantial responsibilities that may accompany this role.

How complex is the estate?

The size and makeup of an estate typically impacts an executor’s workload and duties. A simple estate with minimal assets might require less time than one with property outside the state or complex investments. Be honest with yourself about your ability to manage the role before accepting.

What are an executor’s duties?

In Minnesota, an estate executor or “personal representative” has many critical responsibilities, including:

  • Gathering the decedent’s assets
  • Notifying creditors
  • Paying debts and taxes
  • Distributing the remaining property according to the will

Understanding these responsibilities before you accept this role can help you decide if you are truly up for the task.

What is the potential for beneficiary disagreements?

Family dynamics can complicate estate matters for executors. If you are concerned about conflicts between beneficiaries, understanding the issues at hand can help you to decide if you can handle them or if it might be best for everyone if you decline.

Seek support if you accept

Anytime you feel overwhelmed about your role and responsibilities, seek answers from a knowledgeable individual. The Minnesota Judicial Branch website can offer initial guidance, but for a smooth and stress-free administration, consider consulting an estate planning representative. The estate will likely even pay for this guidance.