The executor of a decedent’s estate carries substantial responsibility under the law. These people must take appropriate steps to ensure the payment of estate debt and properly distribute the estate’s property to heirs. To accomplish these goals and administer an estate adequately, executors also have significant power. They have the full and sole authority to pay off debtors, keep temporary control over assets, and distribute property. Even so, it is understandable for individuals to be confused or disoriented concerning their powers and obligations as the executor of an estate.
An O’Fallon estate administration lawyer may be able to help. A dedicated estate planning attorney can guide individuals who need to obtain letters testamentary from a probate court and even serve as an administrator if necessary.
An Executor’s Legal Duties
Serving as the executor of an estate carries significant responsibilities under the law. According to state law, an executor is a fiduciary towards the estate that they serve. This means that the representative must act only in the estate’s interest. In addition, Missouri Revised Statute § 473.157 says that a court may require an executor to pay a bond to ensure their compliance with the established obligations of executors.
This concept applies across the board. Representatives must be sure to pay the estate’s debt before distributing the remaining assets. They must also keep all estate property under safeguard until the time comes to make the distribution.
An O’Fallon estate administration attorney could help representatives better understand their obligations under the law. A knowledgeable lawyer could provide guidance concerning the legality of an action and suggest what steps are necessary to remain in good faith with the courts and the estate.
Taking the Lead as the Executor of an Individual’s Estate
Another way in which a lawyer in O’Fallon may be able to help is by serving directly as an estate administrator. Legal representation may be especially helpful in this area since skilled attorneys tend to have a better grasp of the relevant laws as well as the experience necessary to properly perform in this role.
Naming an attorney as an estate administrator can come with increased peace of mind. Knowing that an estate is in good hands can allow individuals to focus on what is important in the present.
Let an O’Fallon Estate Administration Attorney Take the Lead
The role of an executor in overseeing the handling of an estate is vital to the smooth operation of the probate process. Once a court appoints an executor, that person must take all necessary steps to pay the estate’s debts and distribute property according to the terms of the will. This role is so important that the law considers executors as fiduciaries to the estate. Failures to perform this role adequately could lead to significant legal consequences.
Thankfully, an O’Fallon estate administration lawyer may be able to help. Our dedicated team members could explain your role as an executor, suggest what actions might help protect the value of an estate, and answer any questions that arise during the probate process. In other situations, an attorney may be willing to serve as an executor when you are creating your estate plan. Reach out to our legal team today to learn more.