The appointment of a person as a personal representative is a very important one and one that must be understood by all parties involved. It is a great responsibility to serve as an executor or personal representative as an Alabama executor duties lawyer can tell you.
When you are deciding about who to put in this role or when you have recently been appointed, you need to know all that is involved in this process and how to proceed. Sometimes this can be done with some self-education, and in other cases you might need the help of an AL executor duties lawyer to guide you through that process and help ensure that you accomplish all of the stated goals.
Understanding the Role of Executor
An executor is responsible for handling the estate in the best interests of all people concerned. This can vary based on the circumstances, the size of the estate and the complexity of issues in the case. If you have recently been appointed in this role, you’ll want to talk to an executor duties lawyer in Alabama to get a better perspective on the role that is involved.
The court can limit the powers of a personal representative and, in some cases, there are actions you can take without meeting prior court authorization. Other actions, however, require you to get approval from the court. Those that require prior court authorization includes selling real estate, sub dividing or dedicating land, signing leases for greater than one year, entering mineral leases, demolishing improvements or making repairs.
The list of activities that an executor can undertake without previous court authorization include retaining or receiving assets, insuring assets, paying assessments, performing contracts on behalf of the deceased, satisfying any written charitable pledges, allocating expenses to income, holding securities, settling claims, settling with debtors, selling or exercising stock options, paying expenses and taxes, borrowing to protect the estate, abandoning valueless personal property, depositing funds in financial institutions, prosecuting or defending claims, voting on stocks, entering leases that are a maximum of one year long, limiting liability, incorporating a business or continuing and unincorporated business.
Each of these responsibilities and rights is guided by an Alabama executor duties fiduciary duty. The personal representative has a fiduciary obligation to the estate and to the beneficiaries of the case. In the event that a decision is made that did not require prior court authorization but directly goes against this fiduciary duty, the personal representative could be held liable for breach of fiduciary duty. All decisions made on behalf of the personal representative need to be in the best interests of the parties involved.
Typical Actions Under Probate Administration
The executor steps in to close out the affairs of the deceased and handle probate administration. Hiring an executor duties attorney in Alabama can assist you with better understanding the roles and responsibilities of an executor. Alabama probate has to remain open for at least six months of an open period for creditors to submit claims. This means that no estate can be closed in less than six months. It is usually an 8 to 10 month time frame for an executor to close out simple estates.
As a personal representative you have the opportunity to turn down this role. The administrator needs to gather all of the different assets and debts associated with the estate to be able to properly take care of them and ensure that any remaining assets after the payment of taxes and expenses are distributed to heirs.
Schedule a consultation with an attorney who works in the area of executor duties to fully understand whether a personal representative who has been appointed in an Alabama case has upheld their fiduciary duty. Those who have failed to do so could potentially be removed from their post or face personal liability for any issues they make.