The person named as the executor (also called a personal representative) of an estate should always have their own attorney to advise them throughout the process. Even in the simplest estate administration, legal problems may arise that can cause delays, unforeseen costs, and potential litigation. If everything is not done properly, executors can be held legally liable for any losses to the estate.
When to Consult With an Estate Administration Attorney
In New York, most personal representatives must be represented by an attorney licensed to practice law in the state where probate is taking place. A personal representative can seek an attorney at any time, but the chances of a positive outcome and smooth transition of assets are greater the earlier an attorney is involved in the process.
Legal representation for the executor of an estate may be established:
- During estate planning. A person can suggest in their will that a certain attorney or firm be used to administer the estate. However, a personal representative may hire any attorney desired, and does not have to use the estate planning attorney that created the will.
- After the death of a loved one. After someone passes away, the personal representative must perform all duties necessary to send the decedent’s estate through probate. In New York, these duties cannot be delegated to another person. However, an experienced probate attorney can guide you through every step and advise you on your rights under the law.
- When and if heirs challenge the will. If beneficiaries start legal proceedings to challenge the will or your behavior as executor, they may have already hired their own attorneys. You will need your own attorney to represent you and your interests in any estate litigation proceedings.
The team at Landskind & Ricaforte Law Group, P.C., wants to provide you with the information you need to make difficult decisions with confidence. Fill out our quick contact form or call us to request a consultation.