A loved one asked you to act as her or his estate administrator. You accepted the role, but you have knowledge gaps you want to resolve.
American Bar Association explores common executor questions. Address your fears and do a good job by understanding what the role requires of you.
Where do you hold trust or estate assets?
Open an investment account with a trust company, bank or brokerage company in the trust’s or estate’s name. Ensure you receive regular statements, and make sure you make all disbursements and expenses from the account.
How do you sign your name as a fiduciary?
As a trustee, sign your name as “Jane Smith, Trustee.” As a fiduciary, sign as “John Smith, Executor (or Personal Representative) of the Estate of Jane Smith, Deceased.”
How do you get paid?
You may come to learn how much time and energy administering an estate requires. Check the trust or will to see how much you receive as payment for the role. Even if the legal document does not detail compensation, state law could offer “reasonable” pay or a fixed schedule of fees. The definition of “reasonable” depends on estate complexity, estate size and how long you take to fulfill your duties. You receive taxable compensation but check with legal professionals before paying yourself. Before waiving fees for relatives, understand what that means and the duties you must fulfill.
How do you handle beneficiary complaints?
Rather than handle beneficiary complaints, aim to avoid them. For instance, keep beneficiaries in the loop regarding your progress.
A solid foundation of knowledge helps you act as a proper estate administrator.