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FAQ Series - Administering an Estate: Taking the First Step

Posted by Jeanna Shelton | Feb 24, 2021 | 0 Comments

FAQ Series

Estate Administration - Question #2:

I am the named Executor in a decedent's Will or am considered the qualified  Personal Representative of an estate under North Carolina law.  What is my first step?  What is the advantage to hiring an attorney to assist in the administration process? 

When a client comes to us after a loved one dies, the first question we typically receive is “where do I even begin?” Being appointed as Executor or Personal Representative comes with a great deal of responsibility and can feel overwhelming at times, especially when you are starting the administration process.

Step 1: Contact an Estate Administration Attorney

After locating the decedent's estate planning documents, contacting an attorney is a great first step.  Although many Executors or Personal Representatives may choose to handle the administration and settlement of an estate themselves, hiring an attorney can reduce the chances of error, ultimately reducing the Executor's or Personal Administrator's liability.  For example, attorneys can help by providing guidance on how to properly administer the estate according to the decedent's wishes and state law, as well as assist in filing court documents and notices timely and correctly.  

On several occasions, we have had an executor approach our office for help months or even years after their loved one's death.  Usually an executor in this position has taken some correct steps in beginning the estate administration process.  However, quite often, there were steps that were performed incorrectly or skipped altogether, and the process to correct the mistakes or complete the items needed can be cumbersome and costly.  The sooner an experienced attorney is consulted, the better the chances of avoiding delays, lawsuits by other beneficiaries, and increased court, tax, or attorney's fees.

Why Erin Patterson Law?

Our team is honored to guide Executors and Personal Representatives throughout the entire administration process and handle more than just court filings.  We pride ourselves on our unique ability to make administering estates easy and efficient for Executors and Personal Representatives by establishing a regular meeting schedule, providing customized tools, checklists and resources to assist in organizing assets, liabilities and estate documents, coordinating with advisors such as accountants and financial advisors, and corresponding with third-parties and beneficiaries on behalf of the estate.

Contact Us

If you are an Executor or Personal Representative just beginning or in the midst of administering an estate and want to learn more about your role and responsibility and how our experienced team can assist you, please connect with our team or contact our office.

 Check back regularly for continuation of our FAQ Series on the blog! We will cover the frequently asked questions from our Practice Area  pages in more depth.  Please connect with our team or contact our office if you have any questions or to learn more.

About the Author

Jeanna Shelton

Senior Associate Attorney


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