Must an executor be local to effectively administer an estate?

On behalf of Scaringi Law posted in Estate Planning on Monday, January 11, 2016.

When coming up with an estate plan, individuals may want a family member or loved one to be the executor of their will, sometimes referred to as the personal representative. The job is an important one: handling the financial obligations of the estate, including debts, taxes and other obligations imposed by the will.

The best person for these duties may very well live far away, in another state. However, some considerations might apply when choosing an out-of-state executor.

First, it is important to know whether state laws impose special requirements on an out-of-state executor. Our firm focuses on estates and trusts, and as we explain on our website, Pennsylvania law does not impose additional requirements on out-of-state executors. In fact, our probate clients have included out-of-state personal representatives, as well as other individuals appointed in various capacities pursuant to an estate plan.

On a practical level, however, it may be difficult for an executor to handle the day-to-day matters of an estate if he or she is not local. Of course, technology provides many workarounds, and the ideal situation may allow a personal representative to spend several days attending to a decedent’s estate.

In addition, an estate plan that relies on the assistance of an attorneys may also minimize the likelihood of disputes or mishaps. Such duties may include overseeing the distribution of assets, preparing an estate tax return and paying any taxes, appearing on behalf of the estate at probate or any other court proceedings, and overseeing the upkeep of the estate property until its final resolution. Since many of these issues implicate legal questions of estate law, an attorney can be a great resource.

Source: FindLaw, “Choosing the Executor FAQ,” copyright 2015, Thomson Reuters

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