It’s not uncommon for an adult child to serve as a parent’s estate executor. For some, deciding what to do with a parent’s Florida home or other assets can help to distract from the loss of a loved one. For others, taking control of a loved one’s assets can be described as an unspoken financial rite of passage.
Death is often taboo
The role of the estate executor tends to be shrouded in mystery because it’s rare to spend much time talking about a loved one’s upcoming death. Therefore, you may have a lot of questions about how to fulfill the role properly. Fortunately, there are many sources such as the probate court itself that you can turn to if estate administration issues arise. Generally speaking, you won’t incur any personal liability for making honest mistakes.
Balancing grief with legal duties
As an executor, you’ll need to take a number of actions in a timely manner. These actions include securing the deceased person’s belongings, evaluating creditor claims and making final tax payments. Failing to take these actions in a timely manner may expose you to personal liability or expose the estate to legal action from creditors or beneficiaries. Again, you are encouraged to seek outside assistance if you are struggling to meet your legal obligations because you are grieving or for any other reason.
Serving as an executor will likely require you to commit several weeks or months of your life to settling your parent’s affairs. Ideally, you will remain in constant communication with beneficiaries, creditors and others to help facilitate the timely payment of bills and passage of assets from the estate to those beneficiaries. If necessary, you can relinquish your role if you’re unable or unwilling to serve at any point.