When a loved one dies, someone must be responsible for overseeing their Washington estate. In many cases, parents will name their child in their will to serve as the executor. There are a number of items that you should be aware of if you have been chosen.
Act in the estate’s best interest
Your primary job is to act in the estate’s best interest. This generally means that you’re responsible for following the language of a will as closely as possible. For instance, if your mother wants to leave her entire estate to a charity, you must do so regardless of what other family members desire. An exception would be if it was determined that the will is fraudulent or was altered while your parent was not of sound mind.
Act in a timely manner
There are a number of actions that must be taken as quickly as possible after your parent passes away. For instance, you may have to present the will to a probate judge in a predetermined amount of time after the date of the testator’s death. You will also need to secure inventory, publish a death notice and file a final tax return within several weeks or months of your parent’s passing. Failing to take these steps may leave either yourself or the estate open to legal challenges that can delay the process of settling your parent’s affairs.
Serving as an executor takes patience, attention to detail and an ability to communicate effectively. If you need help, the judge in your case may be able to either do so directly or provide resources that might assist in making the right decision in a given scenario.