Even after the loss of a loved one, his or her life continues in certain ways, especially in ways attached to the remaining estate. But eventually you and other surviving loved ones face the task of closing the estate and settling final affairs.
Specifically, the executor of the will or the estate has the primary role of carrying out the necessary tasks of probate. Probate is the legal process that allows for the validation of a will and ensures that the estate closes as it should. Because many details go into settling an estate, if you are the executor, you may have a difficult time ahead.
Who appoints an executor?
The appointment of an executor can take place in multiple ways. First, the testator, or person creating the estate plan, can use his or her will to name a person to act as the executor. Many people consider this option the best because it allows the testator to consider his or her options and appoint a person believed best suited to the role. In a best-case scenario, the testator will discuss the appointment with the candidate beforehand to ensure that the individual wants the responsibility of closing the estate.
If a person died without a will or did not appoint an executor in the will, the court will appoint someone to act as executor. This step can be complicated and result in it taking longer to close the estate due to the legal proceedings associated with court-appointing a representative.
Who can be an executor?
An executor can be a family member, close friend or even some type of professional. Loved ones are commonly the first choice, but if a testator does not feel that any of his or her loved ones suit the role or does not have any close loved ones to name, that person may choose to appoint a legal or financial professional to act as executor. If the court appoints an executor, it will consider surviving spouses or adult children first.
What does the executor do?
The executor has many responsibilities, ranging from opening the probate process to paying the deceased's final bills to distributing assets. Depending on the complexity of the estate, the process can take varying lengths of time and can involve different actions. As a result, it often helps for executors to have professional legal assistance during this time, and if you are the appointed executor of your loved one's estate, you may want to work with a Tennessee attorney throughout the process.