When a loved one passes away and they left behind a valid will, they will
have generally named someone they trust to administrate or otherwise “settle”
the estate. This individual is called the “executor” or “personal
If you recently learned that you were named as the executor in a loved
will, you may have been surprised. You may have been honored, or you may have
felt as if the job is too much for you to handle at this point in your
life, or, you may feel trepidation, but think you have no other choice
but to accept the job. But alas, you do have a choice.
When you are appointed as an executor in a will, you are not legally required
to accept the role. If you feel that someone else in the family would
be better suited, you have every right to try and pass the hat off to
him or her. But what if you are the best-suited person in your family
or circle of friends?
It may make perfect sense why the decedent chose you to be the executor
of their estate. Perhaps you’re the most trustworthy, the most knowledgeable,
or the most responsible. But the question is, do you have the time to
perform your duties to the best of your ability?
Being an executor of an estate is very time-consuming, especially if it’s
a large estate that involves real estate property, investments, insurance,
and the like. A probate case can easily take up to one full year to complete,
sometimes longer when there is real estate to be sold.
If you’re retired, a homemaker, or at home because of a disability,
then you may be perfect for the job. Even if you don’t have a lot
of free time, for example, you have a full-time job or you’re raising
a family, you still may be able to be the executor if you hire a probate attorney.
Can a probate lawyer do most of the work?
Some executors tackle the easier tasks involved in
probate while they hire experts, such as real estate agents, accountants, tax
advisors, and probate attorneys to handle the financial and legal aspects.
Other executors prefer to hire a probate lawyer to handle everything for
them, especially when they’re free time is limited or they’re
afraid of making a costly mistake.
If you have been appointed as an executor of an estate, it’s important
to know exactly what you’re up against; you also want to learn about
executors’ “fiduciary duty” in a probate case. As a
Nashville probate lawyer, I’d be more than glad to answer all of
your questions about Tennessee probate – feel free to
give me a call.