Kent Larsson writes about the proper use of wills, advance directives, trusts, and other estate planning tools, and how how they play a vital role in you receiving proper medical care and helping you to preserve and pass on your assets to your loved ones.
Family members may have grievances with each other, but an executor can’t just even things out.
An executor does not have the authority to make things even between family members, unless it is strictly within the law, according to the Napa Valley Register in "Can mom make son pay debt?"
The article was about an executor who was the child of the deceased and charged with distributing equal shares.
However, one of the siblings had borrowed money from the deceased over the years and never paid any of it back. Unless there is documentation of the loans, there is little chance the executor can take that information into consideration.
There are several problems with what the executor might want to do.
Among them is that loans to children are often more gifts than they are loans. The mother may have “loaned” the money to the sibling, knowing that it would never be paid back. That makes it a gift.
If the loans are undocumented, there is no way to prove they happened short of a court battle. If they were considered loans and not gifts, they could be well outside the statute of limitations.
It can be tempting for executors to want to redress past wrongs. However, they should be careful before doing so.
An estate planning attorney can advise an executor on their powers.
Reference: Napa Valley Register (Oct. 26, 2017) "Can mom make son pay debt?"
One of the single most important estate planning choices that you will make, is who will be your executor.
It is only a very small exaggeration to state that the executor of an estate is the person who is in charge of everything, that he or she can either determine whether an estate administration will go smoothly or terribly.
True, there are others who will have a hand in determining how the estate administration goes, but for the most part it will be all up to the executor.
It is the executor who will have to make the biggest decisions and, unless someone complains, there will be little oversight from busy probate courts.
That means you need to choose the executor of your estate carefully, as the Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog discussed in "Selecting an Executor for Your Estate."
You need an executor who is trustworthy, understands financial matters, has the time to do the job properly, is willing to do the job, is patient and will seek the advice of experts, when necessary.
Finding someone who meets all of those qualifications, can be a challenging task for many people. However, it is necessary if you want your estate to go smoothly.
Fortunately, if you do not have a friend or family member who fits the bill, there is someone you probably know who can help steer you in the right direction.
Your estate planning attorney might also agree to be your executor. If not, then the attorney probably knows other people in the area who are willing to serve as professional estate executors.
Reference: Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog (July 13, 2017) "Selecting an Executor for Your Estate."
The executor of an estate must make decisions on protecting heirs.
Katie May, a former Playboy model may have suffered injuries during a photo shoot and went to a chiropractor for treatment.
She later died and the coroner determined the treatment injured her artery and cut off blood flow to her brain, according to TMZ in "Playboy Model Katie May Estate Sues Chiropractor...Your Treatment Killed Her."
May's executor and the father of her child is suing the chiropractor for wrongful death on behalf of the estate. Even if he did not personally believe the coroner's report that the chiropractor was responsible for May's death, he would likely have an obligation to sue.
While this is an unusual case in that it features a Playboy model and an apparent death at the hands of a chiropractor, it illustrates something important. Executors have duties to the estate and some of those duties can be challenging.
It is for this reason that executors are advised to get the assistance of estate attorneys to help carry out their duties.
Reference: TMZ (June 14, 2017) "Playboy Model Katie May Estate Sues Chiropractor...Your Treatment Killed Her."