You've been named estate executor. How should you feel about that?

Say that you’ve been approached by a close friend or relative in Orange County or elsewhere who is asking you to serve as the executor of his or her estate.

What exactly does that entail, and should you do it?

First off, doing the requisite homework to find out what being an executor — often called a personal representative — is all about prior to simply signing off on the request is more than a good idea. Indeed, it is a flat imperative for understanding what duties arise for an executor and what challenges can surface.

For readers who might have heard a thing or two about being an executor and concluded that it’s not such a big deal, a scan of a recent article addressing estate executor duties and challenges can put things into proper perspective in a hurry.

Indeed, and while it is certainly possible that the executor role in a given instance can be carried out in relatively quick and easy fashion, the above overview also makes the point that “the job often comes with a minefield of family issues” and the potential for an executor to be personally sued for alleged substandard performance.

In many cases, of course, there will be bills to pay, assets to identify, value and conserve, family members’ views and opinions to deal with, tax-related considerations to think about and additional concerns.

It is certainly likely, as noted in the above-cited article, that any executor will have the need to consult closely with an estate’s attorney on matters ranging from payments to creditors to tax liabilities.

Truly, in some instances (and especially when an estate is large and complex) an executor can have a lot of work to do. Questions and concerns regarding the specifics of the role and what it entails can be addressed to an experienced estate planning attorney.

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