Those who have been appointed sole executor of a loved one’s estate should appoint a co-executor to help relieve their burden.
That’s according to expert June Fletcher, writing for the Wall Street Journal, who said that the duties assigned to an executor – such as arranging for a valuation report, property clearance and the will – can be “overwhelming”, particularly as the person in question will most likely be grieving at the same time.
Fletcher advised that appointing a specialist probate lawyer is a good first step, and having them act as the co-executor could be an ideal solution.
“The professional can then take care of all the details,” she said.
“[These] include filing the will with the court, notifying companies your [loved one] had accounts with; paying creditors; filing taxes…you, however, will still have to sign off on and be legally responsible for any decisions made.”
Writing in response to one person’s worried cry for help – in which they asked if their recently deceased mother’s estate should go towards paying off her debts – Fletcher said: “Your mother’s estate must pay her debts, which include funeral expenses, executor administrative costs and taxes.”
She also advised the person to “keep an eye out” for any items of value, such as “jewellery; stamp and coin collections; stock and bond certificates; and antique furniture” when undertaking the home clearance.
“All of these assets will become part of your mother’s estate and can be sold to help settle her bills,” she added.