There are people who are not aware of the fact that your last will is not something that is only going to be shared in private among your family members. When you use a last will as your primary vehicle of asset transfer, your estate must be probated. During this time the probate court will examine the will and attest to its validity. If anybody wanted to step forward and contest your wishes they would present their arguments in front of this court. At the same time, creditors and claimants of any kind that may exist would seek satisfaction from the estate during the probate process.
Since the probate court supervises the administration of the estate it is important to have your will constructed with the realities of probate in mind. While you are doing so you are going to want to appoint an executor. The executor is the individual who is going to be charged with doing all the hands-on tasks that must be taken care in behalf of the estate. These would include satisfying all rightful debts, including tax responsibilities. Once the will is deemed valid by the court the executor will have to inventory all the assets and prepare them for distribution to the heirs of the deceased.
The executor is almost always going to find that the expertise of a probate attorney is necessary. In addition to this, he or she is oftentimes going to have to bring in an appraiser, a tax accountant, and a company that specializes in the liquidation of property that is owned by the estate. When you combine all of the above responsibilities, it becomes clear that the executor must have a good deal of business savvy and a significant amount of free time to spend taking care of all of these considerable responsibilities.
The role of the executor is an important one indeed, and you may not know someone who is a qualified candidate. There are professionals who will act as executor for a fee, and this is something that you may want to consider when you are making your estate planning decisions.
Mr. Kraft assists clients primarily in the areas of estate planning and administration, Medicaid planning, federal and state taxation, real estate and corporate law, bringing the added perspective of an accounting background to his work.