We needed our Wills, Power of Attorneys, and Advance Healthcare Directives prepared before we left town. Robert was very knowledgeable and gave helpful advice. We were very grateful that he expedited our documents for us to sign before leaving town. The services were of fine quality and the response time was short. We were very satisfied with the legal services we received at the Meyring Law Firm.

You're an Executor. Now What?

When people write a will, they choose the most trusted and reliable person they know to help carry out their will-written wishes. That person is known as the executor. That is the person, for example, who actually transfers the gift of money to the grandchild or deeds the house to the children according to what the will says.

Most times an executor is a spouse; and spouses often name each other as their first choice, but if one spouse passes away, then the surviving spouse will need to have named a second person to be the executor instead. Some parents choose two children as co-executors as a way to force the children to get along with each other. Often that is a very bad idea because the fighting children will still fight over the handling of the decedent’s estate and everything the co-executors do would require both co-executor’s signature - even if both children live in different places. So the extra effort and fighting between co-executors often results in wasted money and a diminished estate for the surviving family.

Many times a will-named executor will not know that they are executor until after the relative or friend has died, as the contents of the will are often kept private until the time that the executor files the will for probate in the probate court. What is needed to file the will for probate is difficult to find out and the executor often needs to visit the probate court many times to get the probate papers correct. Beyond the probate filing, if deed transfers are needed, most executors do not know how to write or transfer deeds, don’t know how to calculate the liabilities in the estate handling, and do not know how to deal with aggressive creditors to the estate.

To further complicate the estate, people often put together wills that have problems that show up only after the will is probated. Problems originate from 1) uninformed will drafting by “helpful” lawyer friends or lawyer family members that do not practice in trusts and estates, 2) cost cutting in the making of a will - because many people seem to believe that a cheap will is a good will, 3) or stem from the fact that most people do not know how to draft a good will.

A named executor must bear the burden of the estate plan produced by the will-drafter if they accept the position as executor. Can the executor be paid? How does the named executor know if they are handling a difficult estate? How long will it take? What if the people who receive gifts and property from the will do not agree with what the will says? What if those same people hate each other? What if the will is just a bad will that won’t work? How is that resolved? What if the will tries to give away property or family real estate that is not owned by the decedent?

To find these answers and peace of mind, hire a probate-experienced trusts and estates attorney. Or simply bear the burden of being the executor without help and pray everything goes well.
* Robert S. Meyring, of Meyring Law Firm offers free 10 minute phone evaluations at 678-217-4369. The Meyring Law Firm is located 200 feet east of the railroad crossing on Paces Ferry Road, Atlanta. More information at www.MeyringFirm.com.