A Connecticut executor duties lawyer can inform you about the expectations of the role you play in probate administration when you are named in someone else’s will or when you are appointed to this role directly by the probate court. Most people do not understand the full scope of services expected of a personal representative also known as an executor. Not that the rules related to the appointment and duties of a Connecticut personal representative are found in C.G.S. § 45a-282 et seq.
For that reason it’s easy to make mistakes that might seem like minor errors but can come back as problems named in legal disputes filed by disgruntled beneficiaries. The easiest way to protect yourself from this kind of situation is to hire a Connecticut executor duties lawyer immediately after learning of your appointment. This individual can prepare you for the process of working as an executor and can even give you crucial details about avoidable mistakes.
Responsibilities of a Connecticut Personal Representative
While the ultimate goal is to resolve estate debt and distribute estate assets, there are many tasks that the personal representative must perform during the estate administration process.
Gather assets. One of the first and most important steps in serving as an executor is to gather all of the assets inside the probated estate. This can include real estate, jewelry, collectibles, cars, and more. The job of the executor is to gather all of these materials and to present them as part of the overall estate. The executor must appraise the assets and create an inventory.
Pay debts. From there, creditors are paid out systematically and payments are made to tax organizations as well to ensure that the deceased’s financial responsibilities are met in full. This includes not only debts that the decedent incurred prior to death, but also expenses related to estate administration including court fees and attorney’s fees.
Asset distribution. Beyond this point it is then the job of the executor to distribute any remaining assets in accordance with the deceased’s estate planning wishes as listed in their will or through intestate succession guidelines as established by the individual state where no will exists. C.G.S. § 45a-437. In the case of intestate succession, estate property will go to the decedent’s next of kin. Generally, that would be their surviving spouse or children. If there is neither, the statute explains which blood relatives would be entitled to inherit. If there are questions related to relatedness, a hearing may be required to prove kinship and right to inherit. If you have questions related to consanguinity, contact an experienced executor duties attorney in Connecticut.
Fiduciary Responsibility of Executor
An executor’s duties are to uphold their fiduciary responsibility to heirs of the estate. What this looks like is the executor making decisions in line with what would protect these assets during the short term and minimizing errors that could diminish the overall value of the estate.
An executor who fails to rise to this occasion or who commits illegal activities could be held personally liable for the losses they have caused the estate to suffer due to their negligence. While you may assume that can handle the role of executor on your own, you will only find out about this after it is too late when an angry beneficiary is bringing a personal lawsuit against you.
To avoid this situation, set aside time to meet with an executor duties attorney serving Connecticut to discuss your role, the actions you intend to take and your concerns about any angry or frustrated beneficiaries that might have claim to assets inside that estate. One of the best things you can do to protect yourself is to engage the services of a lawyer early on.