Careful record keeping and patience benefit executor of will

On Behalf of | Oct 5, 2017 | Probate And Estate Administration

When a family member passes in Nevada, grief occupies the relatives and friends, but the executor of the will must focus on administrative business as well. A will designates the person who will manage the estate. Known as an executor, this representative must perform certain tasks within days or weeks of the death, such as halt Social Security payments, obtain death certificates, track down the will, locate assets, notify the probate court and pay for burial expenses.

A probate court must review the terms of a will and approve payments to creditors and distributions to heirs. In the first stage, the court will acknowledge the person as an executor and give the person the legal authority to pay bills for the estate, file tax returns, manage bank accounts and communicate with beneficiaries. The probate review could last from six months to two years. During this time, a benefactor should maintain careful records about the income and expenses of the estate and appraisal of assets.

An executor should not rush the process or ever distribute assets to heirs before a probate court approves distributions. Debts or taxes might need to be paid. Those obligations might tap into funds originally assigned to heirs. If the estate plan included any trusts, the executor can distribute assets according to the trust because this is a private process generally outside of court review.

Someone placed in charge of the estate administration process might want legal advice. An attorney could explain which forms to file with a probate court and field questions from heirs. The attorney could also relay information about potential personal liabilities that might emerge from actions made on behalf of the estate. Legal support may help an executor contend with disputes among heirs and claims by creditors.