Perkins & Dupré LLC
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What role does an executor play during probate?

Being assigned as the executor of a loved one's estate can be overwhelming. There is a lot to this role, and if one does not do it right, it can hurt beneficiaries and have personal consequences as well. What exactly is an executor's role during probate in the state of Louisiana?

One does not have to go too far or look too long to find a list of executor responsibilities. A simple internet search will bring up a lot of information on this topic. Unfortunately, some of it may be confusing and only heighten one's feelings of inadequacy about fulfilling the role as executor.

Thankfully, executors do not have to work through the probate process alone. They have the right to seek assistance from legal counsel to make sure they fulfill their roles properly and ensure the estate is administered in accordance with the decedent's wishes -- if an estate plan was put in place -- or in accordance with state laws -- if no estate plan exists. Before an estate can be divvied out to beneficiaries, the executor must:

  • Locate a copy of the estate plan -- if one is believed to exist
  • Open a probate case
  • Inventory assets
  • Notify beneficiaries and creditors
  • Pay any valid claims made against the estate
  • Pay estate taxes
  • File final income taxes for the deceased
  • Pay legal fees

This, of course, is a condensed list of duties. More may be required of an executor. It all depends on the size and complexity of the decedent's estate.

The probate process in Louisiana, much like in other states, can be intimidating to get through. The legal ins and outs of it are not something with which most people are familiar. An experienced probate attorney can prove to be an extremely valuable resource to those who find themselves as designated executors. With the right assistance, it is possible to get through probate swiftly and without error.

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