What Responsibilities Does an Executor of a Will Have?

executor, DuPage County estate planning attorneysCreating an estate plan is a vital responsibility regardless of your wealth or property. Surprisingly, approximately 60 percent of American adults have not even created a will, let alone any other type of estate planning document. Everyone deserves to decide how their possessions are passed down to heirs, but these decisions are left to state law when a person passes away without any estate planning instruments in place. If you are ready to start making your estate plan, you may be wondering who you should choose as the executor of your will. The executor has many key obligations, so it is important to choose someone who can fulfill these duties.

Completing Your Final Affairs

An executor is the person responsible for finalizing a deceased person’s worldly affairs. Executors, also called personal representatives, have a legal duty to act in good faith and with integrity on behalf of a deceased person. Executors have many responsibilities, including but not limited to:

  • Managing the deceased person’s property and belongings until they are distributed to heirs
  • Supervising the distribution of the deceased person’s property as per the directions contained in the will, or if there is no will, according to intestate succession law
  • Filing the will in the local probate court
  • Representing the estate in court
  • Terminating credit cards and notifying the deceased person’s bank of his or her death
  • Contacting the Social Security Administration and other governmental agencies regarding the death
  • Establishing a bank account for incoming funds and bill payment
  • Paying the deceased person’s bills such as mortgage payments, utility bills, and homeowner’s insurance premiums using estate funds and
  • Paying the deceased person’s debts and taxes

The person you name as the executor of your estate has a large responsibility, so it is important to choose someone who you think can sufficiently handle executor duties. Many people choose a spouse, sibling, or adult child to be the executor of their will but the executor does not have to be a blood relative.

Contact a Wheaton Estate Planning Lawyer

Estate planning can be a complex process with many elements that require legal guidance. If you are ready to draft your estate plans, turn to the trusted DuPage County estate planning attorneys at Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath LLC to get the help you need. Our lawyers each have an impressive 40 years of legal experience and we are prepared to handle even the most complicated estate planning issues. Call our office at 630-665-2500 today and schedule a confidential consultation to discuss your needs.

Sources:

https://www.aarp.org/money/investing/info-2017/half-of-adults-do-not-have-wills.html

https://www.kiplinger.com/article/retirement/T021-C032-S014-7-tips-for-choosing-the-right-executor.html

Reduce the Chances of a Wrongful Termination Lawsuit By Following These Tips

wrongful termination, Wheaton business law attorneyIf you are a business owner, you are probably an extremely busy person. The last thing you need is to deal with an employee suing you for alleged wrongful termination. Not only are wrongful termination lawsuits stressful and time consuming, they can also be extremely expensive. The average amount received by terminated employees in a wrongful termination or employment discrimination claim is just over $37,000. Most wrongful termination claims involve an allegation that the employer breached the employment contract or that the termination somehow violated a state or federal employment law. One of the best ways to avoid a discrimination suit or wrongful termination claim is to follow proper procedures when firing employees.

Make Sure All Employees Understand the Company’s Policies

Employees should be fully aware of the company’s policies regarding employee expectations, discipline, and termination. Many employers find that writing policies and procedures in a comprehensive employee handbook is one way to ensure that employees have a written record of rules and expectations. An experienced business lawyer is a tremendously valuable resource when it comes to formulating an employee handbook that gives you the best chances of avoiding a lawsuit.

Conduct Performance Reviews and Document Everything

Unless an employee has committed an especially egregious act that necessitates an immediate termination, firing an employee should be a last resort. An employee who is underperforming should be made aware of the ways in which he or she is not meeting expectations and given guidance on how to improve. Conducting regular performance reviews is a great way to let an employee know when he or she is missing the mark. Make sure you keep documentation of the dates of these reviews, what was discussed during the reviews, and how you and supervisory staff have made efforts to help the struggling employee.

Have a Witness Present at the Termination Meeting

If you have reason to suspect that the employee will not take the termination well or that he or she will attempt to bring a discrimination or wrongful termination claim to spite you, have a witness present during the termination meeting. If you have human resources staff, make sure a member of your HR team is present. If you do not have a dedicated human resources worker, ask a higher-lever employee to sit in on the meeting. A witness will be able to corroborate your version of the events if there is an allegation that you said something you did not actually say during the meeting.

Contact a Wheaton Business Lawyer

For help drafting employment agreements, company policies, hiring practices, and employment handbooks, contact an experienced DuPage County business law attorney from Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath LLC. We will help you formulate company policies and contracts that give you the best chances of avoid any future business litigation. If you are the subject of a wrongful termination claim, we will aggressively advocate on your behalf. Call our office at 630-665-2500 and schedule a confidential consultation.

Sources:

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/344232

https://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/how-to-fire-an-employee.html

Planning to Purchase a New Home? Watch Out for These Common Mistakes

buying, Wheaton Real Estate LawyersThere are so many things to consider when you are thinking about a new home purchase. What neighborhood should you move to? What types of amenities are most important to you? Are there certain features in a home that you cannot live without? What size home should you buy? Fantasizing about the perfect new house, apartment, or condominium can be one of the most enjoyable parts about the home-buying process. However, those looking to buy a home should also be aware of the many pitfalls that can spell disaster. The home-buying process can involve complicated financial challenges and legalese-filled documents that are impossible to understand. This is one reason it is so important to work with an experienced real estate attorney when buying a new home.

Buying a Home that Exceeds Your Budget

Making a realistic budget can be extremely difficult. The majority of people grossly underestimate their actual expenses and forget about the small expenses that add up every month. If you overestimate the amount of money you can reasonably contribute to your mortgage every month, you may find yourself unable to make these payments on time. You could even end up at risk of foreclosure. When determining how much you can spend on a new home, make sure to consider the added costs which you do not necessarily experience as a renter. You will need to account for property taxes, utility bills, and the costs of maintaining your home.

Sticking to your budget can take a great deal of self-control. Many people struggle with this part of the home-buying process. Make sure you work with your real estate agent and lawyer to find a budget that will not leave you with more house than you can afford. Seeking pre-approval for your mortgage loan is one way to help ensure that you do not miscalculate your budget and overcommit.

Moving Before You Are Ready

Moving to a new home can be thrilling, however, home buyers should be wary of moving before they are truly ready. Most mortgage lenders calculate your average income using your income from the past two years. If you have not had your job long enough, you may want to wait a year or two before buying a new home. The same is true if you have not established a good credit score or saved enough for a decent down payment. Ultimately, it is better to know for sure that you are ready to buy a home than to find out you were not ready after it is too late.

Contact a DuPage Real Estate Lawyer

Buying a home is potentially the largest purchase you will ever make. To get the legal guidance you need when purchasing a new home, contact Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath LLC. Call us today at 630-665-2500 for a personal consultation with an experienced Wheaton real estate attorney.

 

Sources:

https://www.lendingtree.com/home/mortgage/home-buying-mistakes/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/trulia/2016/08/31/7-warning-signs-youre-not-ready-to-buy-a-home/