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  • The Executor’s Role in an Estate

    You’ve been chosen as the executor for your parents’ estate, or you’ve selected the executor for your estate. What does the executor do? First, the executor must follow the provisions of the will, which is called fiduciary duty. This is a legal relationship between two parties, bearing the highest standard of care by the executor to the person who requested him or her. The executor cannot do what he or she wants to do, since the court oversees and must approve of the actions of the executor.

  • How to Find the Best Executor for Your Estate

    If there is truly a job that no one wants, it has to be executor of an estate. Being the executor requires great time and effort, and it is usually a thankless job. Mom and Dad, if you are choosing an executor, here are some suggestions. First, I recommend that you select an executor who is up to the challenge and has your best interests at heart. He or she shouldn't be a procrastinator or too advanced in age. Heirs or your children who will receive benefit from the estate are not usually the best choice.

  • The Importance of a Will

    A will is a crucial document that must be taken care of well in advance of the end of your elder’s life. Do not allow your elder to die intestate (without a will). When your elder doesn’t have a will, the state may take over, which can become very complicated. You’re almost sure to lose a hefty percentage of the true value of the estate. By making a will and assigning power of attorney, your elder will feel comforted that his or her wishes will be carried out.

  • 6 Practical Ways to Help Your Parents This Fall

    Now that the weather is cooling and the leaves are falling, here are six practical ways that you can assist your elderly parents:

  • Mom Refuses to Create a Will

    Question: My mother refuses to have a last will and testament drawn up. She doesn’t want to hear about the ramifications if she died without a will. It hurts me to think she will not take care of this matter. How can I get her to listen?

  • A Word About Blended Families

    Today, I’m answering a question from a reader.

  • How Not to Become One of the Estate Lady’s Sad Stories

    In my book and in many of my articles, I tell stories of estates I have handled with sad outcomes; either the parents were unprepared when death came, or there were serious and tragic family rivalries over possessions. With preparation, these situations are avoidable. Real stories, every bit the truth, seem to stick with people better than a list of reasons.

  • More About the Basics of Probate, Part 2

    Probate begins when someone turns in the last will and testament of a recently deceased person (the “decedent”) to the probate court. The court then investigates whether this is indeed the last will and testament, and appoints an executor (or a personal representative or an administrator) to administer the estate.

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