The responsibilities of being named as the executor of an estate can be overwhelming, especially when you are still grieving over the loss of a loved one. Becoming the executor of an estate comes with a multitude of administrative tasks, and getting something wrong could make you liable for damages. One software executive saw the need for some help and has designed online tools to make the executor’s role in estate planning easier.
Role as Executor
Executors are required to perform many tasks when settling the estate of someone that they know. The executor is in charge of paying the taxes on the estate in addition to any unpaid creditors. The executor must find and document all assets of the estate as well as settling all of the deceased’s affairs. Finally, executors must distribute assets and personal items to the heirs of the estate.
Unfortunately, there are not a lot of resources available to help an executor handle an estate outside of turning to an estate planning attorney. Most of the information that currently exists online refers to the estate planning steps that a person should take for their own estate and not how to handle the estate of another.
Online Tools for Executors
Daniel Stickel created a program that has been developed into EstateExec.com, an online tool to help executors handle the estate of their loved one. The program helps executors document and complete the tasks required of them for the estate. Mr. Stickel has likened the program to other programs like TurboTax; EstateExec.com does not provide any legal advice but tries to simplify the process.
Other products already exist online to help executors with their estate responsibilities, but they come in the forms of lengthy books or complicated software systems. These options are usually overkill for the basic, non-attorney executor trying to handle an estate. Mr. Stickel’s program focuses on guiding executors through the process.
Features of EstateExec.com
EstateExec.com creates an interactive way for executors to track the list of responsibilities that they have in managing the estate. An executor can list all assets and accounts, individual personal items, and larger pieces of real estate. In addition, this program allows the executor to share the information with other family members and heirs for the sake of transparency. This allows heirs to contribute the information that they might have regarding the estate and alleviates any mistrust that family might have about the executor handling the estate.
In addition, EstateExec.com gives the executor a timeline along with when certain tasks should be completed. It also gives the executor tips about the smaller responsibilities that come with the position, such as getting copies of the death certificate. However, the one thing that this program does not do is give legal advice to the executors of the estate.
Estate law varies from state to state, so as an executor it is important to have an estate planning attorney on hand in addition to use of software like EstateExec.com. The website for the program even states that “You almost certainly need a lawyer if the estate is very large, the will is particularly complex or there will likely be litigation.”