Brown Borkowski & Morrow


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How to represent your parent’s estate

It’s not uncommon for adult children to serve as a parent’s executor. However, if you are asked to oversee your mother or father’s Michigan estate, it’s important that you understand what your duties are. It’s also important to understand that you have the right to back out at any time if you feel uncomfortable serving in such a capacity.

Know where everything is

Ideally, your parent will give you a list of important documents and where you can find them. These documents will typically include a copy of the will, passwords to access important accounts or to gain access to a smartphone or computer. You should also be told where to find bank account, life insurance or other paperwork needed to help close a probate case properly and in a timely manner.

Be ready to serve for awhile

If your parents have significant assets, it may take months to secure, inventory and distribute them. You may also have to deal with creditor claims or claims against the estate made by beneficiaries during the probate process. This may be true even if your loved one had a no contest clause in the will as they aren’t necessarily enforceable. You will also need to make sure that final tax returns are filed and create a full accounting of the estate before a judge will allow the case to be closed.

As an executor, you must be sure that you are capable of acting in the estate’s best interest at all times. You will also need to take actions such as securing assets or presenting a will to the court in a timely manner. Ideally, you will talk to your parent so that you know how to best fulfill your loved one’s final wishes properly.