If you have been named the executor of a person’s estate in Maryland (also known as the personal representative of the estate), or if someone has asked to name you as executor, it is important to learn more about the responsibilities you will have when that person passes away. Often, a person will name a spouse, adult child, or another family member as the executor or personal representative of the estate, although this role does not have to be filled by a relative.
The executor will typically be named as such in the deceased person’s will. It is critical to make sure Maryland law does not prevent you from being an executor before you move forward with any responsibilities. There are relatively few restrictions, and executors usually must be 18 years of age or older and of sound mind. Then, executors should know the following are responsibilities they will need to fulfill.
Petition to Probate the Estate
As executor of a deceased person’s estate, your primary role will take place during probate, which is a process under Maryland law through which a deceased person’s estate is settled. In other words, the executor’s duties or responsibilities usually begin when the deceased person (who has named the executor as the personal representative) dies. However, the executor does have to file the will and take care of preliminary tasks before probate. Most notably, you will need to file a Petition for Probate of an Estate. There are various types of estates, and it is important to work with a Maryland trusts and estates attorney who can ensure your petition is filed correctly.
Managing the Estate
Once you have filed a Petition for Probate of an Estate, you will have several responsibilities when it comes to managing the estate. Those responsibilities may include, but are not limited to the following:
- Determining the assets of the estate;
- Having the assets of the estate appraised;
- Notifying creditors of the deceased’s death;
- Selling or liquidating assets if necessary, to prevent those assets from diminishing in value;
- Collecting rent on any real property with tenants; and
- Representing the deceased’s estate in any legal claims.
These are only some of the duties associated with managing the estate. You may be required to perform other managerial duties, as well. To ensure you fulfill your responsibilities as a personal representative of the estate, you should talk with a Maryland probate lawyer who can help.
Distributing the Assets from the Estate
The executor also has the job of distributing assets from the estate. This process includes paying creditors who are owed money and distributing the deceased’s possessions to beneficiaries listed in the will. Once all property from the estate has been distributed, the executor then will need to file a petition to close the estate. Once the court grants the petition to close the estate, the executor will no longer have any responsibilities.
Seek Advice from a Maryland Estate Planning Lawyer
If you have questions about the duties of an executor, or if you need assistance with the probate process, you should seek advice from an estate planning attorney in Maryland. A lawyer at our firm can talk with you today. Contact the Law Offices of Sandra Guzman-Salvado for more information.