Louisville Probate and Estate Administration Attorneys
Are you an executor in a Louisville estate? You were probably very honored when you were asked by a family member or close friend to be the executor of their estate. Most executors in Louisville and throughout Kentucky have no idea how much work is required to execute their responsibilities. They also were not aware of the personal financial liability that comes along with being an executor.
If you are an executor in Louisville you need the representation of Dodd & Dodd Attorneys, PLLC. The good news is any solvent estate should provide for the payment of our fees.
We have decades of experience with estate planning, probate and estate administration and can guide you through each step of your duties as an executor. We help you to responsibly and completely discharge your responsibilities while protecting you from potential liabilities.
What are the Responsibilities of an Executor?
The first step in the process usually involves obtaining a “bond” that ensures the heirs and beneficiaries designated in the will receive the money and assets they are entitled to. The next step is to “marshall the assets” of your family member or friend’s estate. There are extensive reports which detail these assets and funds to the beneficiaries and the probate court. Some assets will need to be appraised, others will require legal steps in order to prepare them for sale or distribution to the beneficiaries according to the intentions stated within the will.
You will be required to protect the creditors of the estate throughout the process of fulfilling your role as an executor. There are legal notifications which must be given and additional reports to be completed and distributed to each creditor.
You must attend to all final tax matters. Important tax elections may have to be made to preserve portability of a deceased spouse’s federal estate tax exemption or to determine whether a marital deduction should be elected. At the conclusion of the estate settlement, an Executor will have to file a final settlement with the Court accounting for assets collected and distributed. This is a very brief summary of the duties an executor is required to complete, but most find the process to be overwhelming and unmanageable.
Our lawyers will help you to fulfill your duties each step along the way until you receive your final discharge from the probate court. That is when your duties, responsibilities and exposure to potential financial liabilities should come to an end.
The Fiduciary Liability of a Kentucky Executor
It is important to understand the bond you post will not protect you from financial liabilities for your actions as an executor. The bond simply insures the beneficiaries receive the full value of the money, investments and assets left to them per the terms of the will. It will not protect you from the civil (financial) lawsuit you will face if make a mistake or fail to take every required action in a timely manner as you discharge your duties as an executor. The bond actually pays the beneficiaries. The bonding company itself will file a lawsuit against you personally to recover what they were forced to pay, along with additional expenses.
If you, as the executor, are found to have delayed in your duties or taken actions that cost the heirs and beneficiaries money you can and will be held personally and financially liable. This is also true for “sweetheart deals” that involve selling assets to a friend or one of the beneficiaries for a much lower amount than the asset is worth. For example, if you sell the decedents house to one of their children for an amount below appraised and market value, the other siblings and heirs can file a lawsuit against you personally and hold you financially responsible for the difference. Failure to manage the estate properly may cause the Court not to award the Executor a fee or even to remove the Executor.
Contact an Experienced Louisville Estate Administration Lawyer Advising Executors
Executors are personally liable for every action they take while working on the estate. If you have become an executor in Louisville or throughout Kentucky we invite you to contact us or call (502) 584-1108 and learn about the services available through our estate planning and estate administration attorneys to support your efforts, protect you and guide you through the complex steps in front of you.