An executor in Minnesota essentially serves to fulfill the wishes of a deceased individual regarding their personal property. Once a decedent passes away, someone must be responsible for working with an attorney and ensuring that everyone listed in the will gets what they are entitled to, and also that all outstanding debts and liabilities are paid.
Going through probate
This concept of ensuring that creditors receive the money that they are owed is known as probate, a process that is the primary responsibility of the executor. The executor can be chosen by the deceased in writing or selected by a judge.
Probate, which can take months or even years to complete, is the most time-consuming part of the estate planning process. In cases where the estate is challenged, the process can drag out for years.
What does an executor do?
The first order for the executor, once they’ve been approved by the judge presiding over the estate, is to submit the will. The will submission officially opens the estate to probate, and the executor must be present in court as a judge rules if the will is legally binding or not.
The next step of the process involves the executor gathering the assets of the deceased, especially those that have significant value. Those items must be put in a place of safekeeping to prevent theft or any dishonest beneficiaries from trying to make a play for more money.
Finally, the executor must notify any potentially interested parties about the death of the testator, cancel any subscriptions or services and oversee the repayment of any debt attributed to the estate. The executor’s last act involves paying any applicable taxes of the estate.
What an executor needs
An estate planning attorney can help alleviate much of the stress associated with the probate process. Even if this attorney was not the one who helped in the writing of the will, they can work along with the executor to make sure that all the wishes are fulfilled and the beneficiaries get what is rightfully theirs. An estate planning attorney may review the will, look at the deceased’s financial records and review any assets and debts to better help the executor through the probate process.