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3 things every executor should know about probate

On Behalf of | May 1, 2023 | Estate Planning

Pennsylvania state flag with statue of lady justice and judicial scales

When a loved one passes away, the probate court looks to the deceased’s will to ensure the distribution of their estate according to their written intentions. The court does not assume full control of this process, however – it falls to a trusted individual named by the deceased to oversee the execution of the will.

If you choose to accept the role of executor following the passing of a loved one, there are a few key things about the process that you should know. By shedding light on these important aspects of being an executor, you can ensure that probate proceeds quickly and smoothly.

1. What assets go through probate?

Most assets and shares of assets owned by the deceased, whether listed in the will or not, will go through the probate process. Exceptions exist for assets held in a living trust and certain types of funds such as retirement accounts or life insurance plans.

2. What are the responsibilities of an executor?

Much of an executor’s duties involve organizing documents and taking inventory of the deceased’s estate. The executor must also notify the relevant parties about the probate case, participate in proving the will, and oversee the distribution of assets and payment of outstanding expense obligations afterward.

3. What happens if someone contests the will?

An individual attending probate has the right to contest the will if they are an interested party and if they believe some or all of the document is invalid. The responsibility of an executor, in this case, is to reply to the complaint, gather evidence regarding the validity of the will and seek additional legal assistance if necessary.

Being the executor of a will is a significant responsibility, but one that you can successfully carry out with help from the resources available to you.