Family members often see serving as the Executor as a position of honor. You may have also shared this view. However, once the work gets started, things can become complicated very quickly. The simplest mistake may not only cost you the ire of family members but also legal and fiscal damages.

As Executor, you become responsible for wrapping up a decedent’s financial affairs. Depending on the complexity of the assets and debts as well as your own family relationships, this may not always go as smoothly as planned.

Grieving

CNBC points out that when loved ones become Executors, the grieving process adds to the complexities. It can become difficult to think logically when mourning the loss of a loved one. Grieving may cause you to make sentimental decisions that might prove difficult to rectify later.

Probate

The probate or estate administration process may take approximately 15 – 24 months to resolve. It depends on the Will, potential conflicts among family members, issues with creditors and the complexity of the estate. Not all assets may pass through probate, some may pass by joint ownership or beneficiary designation, which may create an additional stream of assets to track.

Debts and Taxes

As Executor, you need to consider the debts owed and the decedent’s taxes. In Pennsylvania, there will be filing the final income tax returns, which may require the assistance of financial professionals. There will also be inheritance taxes, which may require legal help. You may also need to disentangle shared assets with other family members.

Family members serve as Executors for their loved ones on a regular basis. However, if it becomes too overwhelming, have a game plan at the ready.  It is best to work with an experienced attorney to help you through the process.