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The Different Roles That Executors And Trustees Play During Probate

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Under probate law, there are two types of individuals who can end up being in charge of your money: trustees and executors. These types of individuals play different roles and it is important to make sure that you have the right people in each of these roles.

The Trustee

The job of a trustee is to administer a trust based on the agreement. If the trustee would like to act on the trust, they do not need a court order first. The trustee must follow all the responsibilities found in the trust document and according to state law. This ultimately means that the trustee will distribute the assets found in the trust.

A lawyer might be needed in the event that there is a dispute over the trust. For example, they might question the individual you named as the trustee, whether the trustee had undue influence over you, and whether there is any fraud. Therefore, it's important to make sure that you have a lawyer involved when naming the trustee and creating your trust.

The Executor

An executor, on the other hand, executes the will. This individual is named in the will and is responsible for following the instructions found in the will. However, the trustee will need to obtain permission from the court before they are allowed to act on the will. The executor will distribute the assets of the trustee while they are observed by the court.

An executor will not exist if you pass away without a will. Instead, the administrator of the will is responsible for the probate estate. Also, if there is a good reason to believe that the will is not valid, this might be used as a justification to not have the will handled by the executor.

There are several reasons why the will might not be considered valid. The will might not have been signed properly. There may be evidence of fraud. The courts might suspect that you didn't have the capacity to sign the will. Or, there might be evidence that you signed the will only because of undue influence. 

Hire a Lawyer to Avoid Probate Issues

While you are able to write a will without a lawyer, it's much better to have a lawyer involved in every step of the process when having your will drafted. By doing this, you will be able to make sure that your will is properly executed.

Contact a probate law office for more information.