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How can an attorney help an estate executor?

As the executor of an estate, you may face many difficult decisions, especially when the estate you represent is particularly complex. In a best-case-scenario, serving as an executor is something that you can do with pride and know that you're serving the needs of the estate you represent. However, if matters become complicated, as they often do, you may benefit from experienced legal guidance.

In general, serving as an executor is something that just about anyone can do. The forms you must file with a court, for example, are relatively simple to understand and complete properly. Unfortunately, when it comes to distributing assets and liabilities according to an estate plan, those who receive distributions (or who specifically do not receive distributions) may cause trouble for you or, in some cases, threaten you. Dividing up an estate has a funny way of bringing out the worst in people sometimes.

Similarly, if the assets you represent are particularly complex, it may not be easy to know how to properly serve them. As an executor, you may find that you require guidance to fully serve your duties and ensure that you don't make a costly error out of ignorance of the details.

An experienced attorney can offer an executor many forms of support. If, for instance, the executor finds themselves in conflict with beneficiaries of the estate, an attorney can help an executor serve their role while protecting themselves and their own rights. Similarly, an executor who gets in over his or her head in technical matters may find that the guidance of an experienced attorney is necessary to fully serve the needs of a particular complex estate.

Source: Findlaw, "Will Executor Duties FAQ," accessed Aug. 18, 2017

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