It is generally considered an honor to be named as a friend or family member’s estate representative. However, with that honor comes a number of responsibilities that you have to carry out in accordance with Kentucky law. Although you likely won’t get in trouble for making honest mistakes, knowing what to watch out for may minimize the risk of making one at all.
Don’t distribute assets without approval
Beneficiaries will likely ask you when they will receive their inheritance. The answer is that assets are distributed only after taxes, bills and other outstanding balances have been paid. Whatever is left over can then be given to friends, family members and others named in the will. Giving assets away before you have received approval from a probate judge could expose you to legal jeopardy.
Make sure to take timely action
You will be expected to take timely action in relation to resolving creditor claims or evaluating will challenges. You will also need to make sure that assets are secured and accounted for as soon as possible after the testator passes away. A willful failure to take these and other actions may result in civil or criminal penalties. If you are struggling to find items or simply don’t know how to proceed with anything related to your case, inform the court immediately. The judge may be able to provide insight into what the law says you are supposed to do.
Serving as an estate representative means that you need to be detail oriented and responsive to the needs of many parties at once. You are allowed to withdraw from the role at any point prior to the testator’s passing. You may also be allowed to withdraw after probate begins by notifying the court.