When people draft a last will and testament, one important step is to select another individual to serve as the executor of the will. This means that after the will-maker (testator) passes away, the executor will be in charge of administering the estate as instructed in the will. This can involve several different complex tasks, and many executors can run into roadblocks or experience complications during this process.
While each will and estate is unique, some of the common tasks of an executor include:
- Locating the will after the death
- Filing the will with the proper probate court
- Notifying beneficiaries of the death and their inclusion in the will
- Notifying creditors of the death
- Determining whether creditor claims against the estate are valid
- Taking inventory of the estate property and assets
- Filing final tax returns
- Distributing property to beneficiaries in accordance with the will instructions
- Requesting that the court close the estate
In addition, in some situations, beneficiaries or potential heirs might bring will contests before the court, challenging the validity of the will or alleging undue influence by someone. Executors generally have the task of defending the will against such contests, which can be a legally complex process. In addition, executors should defend the estate against invalid creditor claims.
Executors have a fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries of the estate, and they can face trouble if they are accused of breaching this duty. For this reason, many executors seek help from an experienced probate attorney to ensure a smooth process and prevent liability whenever possible.
Consult with an Experienced Probate and Estates Lawyer in Illinois
At the office of Charles T. Newland and Associates, we help executors through the probate process, as well as assist beneficiaries and other parties with will contests and litigation. Call 847.797.9300 or contact us online to learn how we can assist you.