The passing of a family member or friend is an undeniably difficult event in anyone’s life. To try to better prepare loved ones and ease the burden of managing what gets left behind, many people choose to leave a Last Will and Testament (“Will”), in which they will nominate an executor, the person responsible for gathering the assets of the estate, distributing them in accordance with the Will, and wrapping up any remaining affairs of the estate.
However, a person only nominates an executor of the estate in his or her Will. If you have been nominated as executor under a loved one’s Will, you are not required to accept the position of executor. If you do wish to accept the nomination and act as Executor to the Estate, you must file a Petition to be appointed as Executor in the District Court of the county where the deceased lived at the time of his or her passing. If the Will does not state otherwise, you may be required to provide a surety bond as insurance for your appointment. Banks, insurance providers, real estate agents and other businesses that may be necessary to deal with in wrapping up the estate will not accept the Will as proof of your authority to access the deceased’s accounts or to manage the estate’s assets. If the Will does not specifically state you may do so, you may also need an additional court order to sell any real property owned by the deceased at the time of his or her passing.
Depending on the size of the estate, it may not be necessary or required to fully submit the estate for probate. If you have a loved one who has passed away and have questions about estates and the probate process, call Wetterer and Clare for a free consultation and discuss your options with an experienced attorney.