Just because you have been named the executor of an estate does not mean that you must accept the position. In fact, before you do, you should decide if you are best-suited to assume the role. Being the executor of a high-asset estate comes with far greater challenges than many executors of small estates will face. With so much on the line, it is critical to take a step back to ensure you know what you are up against.
Consider asking yourself these questions prior to becoming the fiduciary of an estate.
Do I have time to manage the estate?
There are several things that complicate the administration of high-asset estates, the most obvious being the substantial number of assets that can be involved. The value of the decedent’s stock portfolio, possessions, bank accounts, real estate and other estate property will mean you must become well-versed in taxation and highly organized.
Depending on if there will be a probate proceeding, estate administration can take months and even years. If you do not have the time to learn how to properly administer the estate, assuming the role may not be in your or the beneficiaries’ best interests.
Will I be able to fulfill the duties of an executor?
You do not want to find yourself in over your head by misunderstanding the process and what will be expected of you. As an administrator, you will be responsible for:
Compiling documents, including insurance policies, birth and death certificates, financial statements, marriage licenses, divorce papers, real estate deeds, tax records and much more.
• Collecting on insurance policies and unpaid salary
• Addressing creditor claims
• Filing state and federal tax returns
• Distributing assets
These are just a few of the various tasks you must complete as an executor.
If you have any hesitations or questions about being the executor of a high-asset estate, you may want to consider contacting a seasoned estate planning attorney to weigh your options.