HEK attorneys regularly advise executors and administrators with respect to the settlement of estates. When a loved one dies, there are many details that need to be addressed to carry out the terms of his or her estate plan. If he or she had a will and had assets in his or her own name, then an executor will be appointed in order to carryout the terms of the will. If he or she did not have a will, then an administrator will be appointed to manage these assets in accordance with state law.
Generally, an executor (or administrator) is charged with taking care of a number of important details, which will vary depending on the deceased person’s financial and family circumstances.Though not an exhaustive list, an executor is generally responsible for collecting estate assets and information, determining debts and claims against the estate, managing estate property, determining and paying all taxes and distributing the estate assets
The estate settlement process includes both:
(a) the probate proceeding, which is the mechanism set up by states to ensure that a person's debts (if any) are paid and that his or her property is distributed in accordance with his or her will, and
(b) the tax proceedings whereby the federal government and the State ensure that all estate, gift and income taxes are properly paid.
In the course of the settlement of the estate, there are also planning opportunities to be considered by the executor and the estate beneficiaries. These opportunities are often overlooked, and include various tax elections and deductions, disclaimer planning, options for dealing with retirement benefits, and planning for special needs beneficiaries.
HEK attorneys are experienced in advising and assisting executors with respect to all aspects of the settlement process. We welcome the opportunity to be part of your estate settlement team by serving as your executor, or by representing you as executor, administrator, or as a beneficiary of an estate.