When it comes to a probate attorney Tampa trusts, attorney Matt Weidner tops the list and today he’s sharing a few of his top tips for estate executors.
Probate Attorney Tampa Trusts Shares Tips For Estate Executors
Your role as an estate executor is an important one. It’s a role that involves a lot of attention to detail as well as knowledge of the probate court system and the probate process. This is why it’s important to have a probate attorney on your side. As the top probate attorney Tampa residents consult for probate guidance, today I wanted to share some tips to help you start planning for probate while you wait for your attorney consultation.
Know What an Executor Is
The first (and probably most important) thing you need to know as an estate executor is exactly what an executor is. This is something we’ve touched on before here on the Weidner Law blog, but let’s briefly recap…
An executor is a person who is responsible for the management of the estate of a deceased person during the probate process. It is your job to submit the estate to the court for probate and to see through the probate process. This involves making an inventory of estate assets, paying creditors and taxes owed by the deceased, and the distribution of assets to beneficiaries.
Know That There is Compensation For Being An Estate Executor
Estate executors do receive compensation for their work. This compensation is paid from the probate estate and is regulated by state law. This compensation can be a percentage of the probate estate, a flat fee, or an hourly rate.
Know That the Estate Also Pays Probate Attorney Fees
No one expects the average person to know everything about the probate process which is why the executor of the estate is permitted to hire a probate attorney and that attorney’s fees are paid by the estate. As mentioned above, state law makes recommendations on what your probate attorney can charge for their services and as the estate executor, you want to ensure that the attorney you select does not exceed the recommendation by your state.
Know That Probate Attorney Fees Vary Based on a Variety of Factors
In addition to those state regulations, probate attorney fees are also influenced by the area of the country where an attorney practices, how specialized they are, and the extent of their experience.
Research Probate Attorneys Fully
Before hiring a probate attorney to assist you in your role as an estate executor, spend some time researching local probate attorneys. Find out what their previous clients are saying about them, how long they have been practicing probate law, whether they have handled cases similar to yours (if your case is unusual), what they charge, and whether you feel comfortable with them. This can often mean spending time going to consultations which can become tiresome, but it’s an important part of your role as the executor.
If you have questions about ANYTHING involved in the probate process or your duties as the estate executor, ask questions! Don’t guess, don’t look it up online and go by what you read, and don’t gloss over something that you don’t understand. A small misstep can cause a lot of ripples during probate and that can cause a lot of additional work for you. This is the perfect time to consult your probate attorney or (if you don’t have an attorney) speak with officials at the probate court.
Keep Immaculate Records
A significant part of your job as the executor of the estate is to record information. This includes:
- Having a copy of outstanding taxes that were paid along with a receipt of payment.
- Maintaining records of any outstanding creditors who have been paid from the estate.
- Recording a full inventory of estate property.
- Keeping complete records of any expenses incurred during your role as an executor.
- Notating all hours worked on the estate and all hours worked by your probate attorney.
A failure to keep immaculate records can hold up the probate process and may result in your receiving no reimbursement for expenses incurred.
Your Role as Executor Can Be Challenged
As the estate executor, your role may be challenged, but it can only be challenged by someone who has the authority to do so. To have the authority, a person must be a beneficiary of the estate or stand to inherit something from the estate if the last will and testament of the deceased is nullified.
If your role as executor is challenged, it must be challenged for a legitimate reason. For example, the challenger must be able to prove that you are failing to fulfill your duties as the executor of the estate. This failure can be the result of incompetence or misconduct.
If your role as executor is challenged and your challenger wins their case and it’s found that you mismanaged estate assets, you may be required by the court to repay any losses that you caused to the estate and the beneficiaries. This is another reason why it is so important to know what you are doing as the executor of the estate because even an innocent mistake can wind up costing you money out of your own pocket!
Talk to Financial Experts
As the estate executor, you aren’t limited to a probate attorney when it comes to seeking advice. In fact, it’s recommended that you also consult a tax professional as well as an accountant to assist with the financial aspects of the probate estate. This will help to reduce the chance of mistakes and choosing financial experts with experience in probate will also help to ensure that things are done by the book!
Looking For a Probate Attorney Tampa Trusts?
If you’re looking for a probate attorney Tampa trusts to guide you through the probate process, Weidner Law can help! Just pick up the phone today and dial 727-954-8752 to set up your consultation and get started on your role as estate executor.