Should You be a DIY Executor?
Being an executor is a complicated responsibility that may take a significant amount of time. Do you want to be a (do-it-yourself) DIY executor?
For many, their choice as the executor for a loved one in New Jersey does not come as a surprise. A spouse or the adult child of an elderly parent often accepts the request when estate planning documentation is created. Other times, the appointment is unexpected.
Regardless of your appointment, it is essential to know that resources are available to help you appropriately—and legally—fulfill your responsibilities to the estate.
For many people, choosing an executor with the understanding that they may retain an outside service is an ideal solution that promises the executor can successfully manage the estate’s affairs with as little difficulty as possible. Just some of the advantages of a full-service estate organization employed by an executor include:
- Cost containment: Unless an executor is a professional, it is difficult to know the appropriate costs for accounting, valuation, appraisal, and other estate services. Because settling an estate delves into different fields, including real estate, financial, and sometimes domestic concerns, an executor can become mired down by competing bids and opinions on the best path to move forward.
Working with a reputable estate service eliminates the confusion and potential loss of estate assets and value that can happen if you choose to be a DIY executor. Because the service is consulting directly with you as you make decisions, you are guided by industry-recognized experts and pay only the fair costs associated with high-quality services.
Whether or not to retain an estate attorney or probate lawyer is a difficult decision faced by many executors. Although legal representation is an expense to the estate, an executor can be held liable for unintentionally mishandling details of the estate. Few executors would choose to assume personal financial liability in exchange for handling the probate affairs of another.
- Retaining an attorney for the estate protects the executor from claims made in the present or years down the road.
A well-established estate service can offer you access to highly recommended, specialized attorneys who are willing to discuss representation for a flat fee or who can guarantee reasonable fee rates for the work they do.
Legal fees add up quickly with any legal counsel—be sure you understand the terms of engagement and fees that are expected as you work through settling and closing the estate.
- Asset searches: A time-consuming task for the executor is locating all the assets of the estate. More than other aspects of settling an estate, aside from real estate valuation, the location and appraisal of valuable assets can be a drawn-out process that can easily irritate beneficiaries who become impatient with asset distribution. Working with an outside service is an excellent way to ensure all assets are uncovered, a report is prepared, chosen assets are liquidated, and the probate process moves forward reasonably.
Real Estate Services
From the outset, an executor is responsible for maintaining the value of the real estate, preparing it for sale, entertaining offers, and closing the deal in a way that makes the most profit for the estate’s heirs.
- This is a complicated job for those without access to experts who can keep the real property in good repair, stage the house, and conduct the sale.
These are just some services a reputable estate organization may offer to an executor. If you choose to use a service, you must do your homework before entering into a contract with any professional estate provider.
A reputable estate service company can save you time and money and provide excellent customer service whenever you have questions. On the flip side, an estate business without credentials, experience, and references could add cost and complexity.
Get Executor Help From a Professional
When you have questions about estate services, estate accounting, or legal services, we have the expertise to help—give us a call or the NJ Executor here. We can also help you decide if you want to choose professional help or to be a DIY executor.