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How an executor’s death affects estate management

On Behalf of | Sep 20, 2020 | Estate Planning & Administration |

Everyone in Pennsylvania should understand why estate planning is important. It’s not a task that should be reserved for the rich; all adults should have a basic estate plan in place even if they don’t own many assets. That’s especially true for people who have dependents. For example, writing a will gives parents the opportunity to name a guardian for their children if the worst should happen.

The basics of being executor

When someone writes a will, they need to name an executor. The executor manages their affairs after death and ensures that their wishes are carried out. Sometimes, the executor can’t do the job. They may have a conflict of interest, or they might be ill or otherwise unable to carry out their duties. In some cases, executors have even died before the people who appointed them.

How the court deals with complications

If the executor dies before the testator, the court will look carefully at the will. If a co-executor or alternate is named, they may be appointed. Failing that, the court may look to other individuals known to the writer of the will. Alternatively, a judge can appoint a law firm experienced in estate planning to act as executor.

A similar process is used if the executor dies during probate. The court will name someone else to succeed to the role. In the interim period, the original executor’s attorney will be responsible for dealing with estate. They will need to provide all documents to the successor.

Estate planning can be intimidating because no one wants to think about their own death. However, it’s important to take these issues into consideration now so that survivors don’t have to deal with them in the future. An attorney may be a great resource for help with estate planning.