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What happens if your executor dies during probate?

On Behalf of | Aug 30, 2023 | Probate & Estate Administration |

One of the most important decisions when planning your estate in Kentucky involves selecting an executor. Usually, the chosen individual is considerably younger as the individual creating the estate expects the executor to be around to disperse their assets when the time comes. But in rare cases, the executor dies soon after the decedent during the probate process.

What happens if the executor dies?

Executors play a vital role in the settling of an estate. During the probate process, they are responsible for creating an inventory of assets, notifying creditors of the person’s passing, liquidating assets for payments and distributing remaining assets to heirs. The death of an executor can seriously disrupt the process. If no one else has been named to take over the proceedings, the court may appoint another individual to complete the job.

How to avoid complications from an executor’s death

When creating your estate, the simplest way to avoid potential problems is to name one or more successor executors. Another way to prevent problems is to put your assets into a trust, allowing the bypassing of probate completely. In this case, you’ll have to name a trustee to administer the trust. Instead of waiting for probate to conclude, the trustee will be able to distribute the assets inside it before probate concludes for the rest of the estate.

Considerations for managing an estate

Most activities involving estate administration occur outside of court. Probate is the court process to validate a will and distribute assets noted within the document. The probate process can resolve any disputes that may arise over property listed in the will. Whether you need to name an executor and successor executor or trustees for various trust accounts, the individuals you choose must be up to the job.

Both positions require considerable financial knowledge. When estates are large, some individuals select financial professionals to administer some, or all, of their trusts. Ensure that anyone you name is willing to do these critical jobs. If a named individual dies before you, or circumstances change, you can amend your estate documents.