The death of a family member can be a sad and stressful time for Maryland residents. Several things must be considered at one time, including funeral arrangements and estate administration. The estate executors are expected to carry out the terms of the will and settle any outstanding debts with the available assets. Family members or loved ones are often appointed as executors, but they may be more likely to make mistakes while carrying out their responsibilities because they are unfamiliar with the process. Hiring a professional or having the appointed executor consult one may help to prevent some of these mistakes from being made.
In addition to carrying out the deceased person’s wishes, the executor is expected to file any necessary tax forms or applicable statutes. An inexperienced executor may be initially overwhelmed with paperwork he or she is required to fill out and file. For example, a living spouse may qualify for a tax exemption, but if the executor does not file the appropriate paperwork in a timely fashion, then the spouse may not be able to benefit from it. There may also be a stocks portfolio or physical properties to consider.
As many may already know, executors are responsible for distributing assets to the beneficiaries. However, they might not know that they are also held personally responsible if the assets are improperly distributed before all taxes and debts have been settled. These debts must be paid before assets are distributed.
Maryland residents who have appointed an executor or are seeking to appoint one may wish to consider consulting with an attorney. They may be able to help the executor to understand what responsibilities he or she will have upon the death of the client. An attorney may also be able to explain which parts of estate administration should take priority.