Executors! You Need Crucial Estate Law Information
You probably did not ask to be placed in charge of an estate. You may have just inherited the executor job title. So, how will you define success as an executor? How will you cope with the realities of your job as executor?
Every executor must remember this: following local laws and customs will keep you out of trouble.
What does this mean if you are an executor of a will probated in Ontario and must sell a Florida property? It means you must follow the laws where the will is probated and those where the estate assets are located.
The only way to learn how these laws apply to you is from an experienced local lawyer. Trust someone who has handled a similar estate administration before.
You must not automatically follow information you find on the web.
Remember this as you search for executor information online. No one supervises what you read on various websites. There is no quality control. Even estate experts do not always post current information on changes in the law.
Besides, reading about changes in law is not the same as getting advice on how those laws apply to you. You could be reading a website run by non-lawyers. Some websites contain serious legal errors. Instead, executors must depend on experienced legal advisors to guide them. You may expect the estate to pay for this legal advice.
Look for Local Experts
Is ExecutorSchool.com any different because it is created by a lawyer?
Here is a question one reader sent in:
Answer: No book or course is a substitute for proper legal advice. Estate laws are different in each jurisdiction. In Ontario, where I practice law, we use the term estate trustee instead of executor. No book or course is ever a substitute for legal advice. ExecutorSchool.com is no different.
In some areas, estate courts are referred to as a surrogate, chancery or probate court. In some areas, the terms fiduciary or personal representative are used. What this means is that persons who handle estates may be called by different names. In Canada and the United States, the rules of common law usually apply. These rules apply but are subject to federal, state or provincial laws and customs.
ExecutorSchool.com is no substitute for legal advice. It will, however, offer you an organizational system and strategies to cope with the workload you did not ask for.
In my experience advising executors, I have found anything that helps them cope is beneficial. Keeping estate trustees worry-free and calm is appreciated.
I created the Executor Mantra to help executors understand their legal duties as fiduciaries.
As a lawyer, I research, write and advise executors daily. I know executors want to do the right thing. They want to stay out of trouble and make people happy.
I want ExecutorSchool.com to help you sleep at night. You don’t have to lie awake at night worrying about what to do.
But above all, you must understand that getting experienced legal advice is the most crucial information executors need.
Edward Olkovich (BA, LLB, TEP, and C.S.) is a nationally recognized author and a Toronto estate lawyer and Certified Specialist in Estates and Trusts. Edward has practiced law since 1978 and is the author of seven estate books including Executor Kung Fu: Master Any Estate in Three Easy Steps. Visit his law firm’s website, MrWills.com, for more free valuable information. (c) 2014Posted In: Executors, Probate On: February 27th, 2014