I am the only living relative and there is no money or assets. It would just be a big headache to be executor
Social Security Lawyers
Before you take action that is regrettable, you should consult with an experienced probate attorney to learn your obligations. Typically the party in possession of an original will does have an obligation regarding the safekeeping and deposit of that will, but if there truly are no assets and your services as executor would not be reasonably compensated, you may be free to walk away from the situation.
Best wishes for an acceptable outcome, and please remember to designate a best answer.
This answer is offered as a public service for general information only and may not be relied upon as legal advice.
1 lawyer agrees
Elder Law Attorney
You are under no legal obligation to be the executor of your father's estate and you are not legally responsible for his debts. If there is truly NOTHING in his estate, all you need to do is file the will and death certificate at the Probate Court and a form called "Declination of Appointment." Then advise the creditors as they call or write you that the will has been filed, you are not accepting the appointment as executor and that they are free to petition the court to be appointed as administrator of the estate if they think there's something to collect.
If you really want to be left alone, hire a probate attorney who can directly deal with the creditors on your behalf, as they should not be contacting you once they are advised that you are represented. The peace and quiet will be worth whatever you need to spend.
E. Alexandra "Sasha" Golden is a Massachusetts lawyer. All answers are based on Massachusetts law. All answers are for educational purposes and no attorney-client relationship is formed by providing an answer to a question.
4 lawyers agree
Estate Planning Attorney
Attorney Golden's answer is exactly right, but there is one more wrinkle. How do you know there are no assets in the estate? A client of mine asked me to help resolve her mother's estate. She was sure there was nothing left. We did a search for lost property and came up with over $10,000, considerably more than I charged her! There is also a certain satisfaction and sense of closure to be gained by getting everything all settled.
Executor is actually a very powerful position. As executor, you can claim any and all property the decedent owned. The creditors, to enforce their claims against the estate, actually have to file separate law suits. Not all creditors do this.
Also, you are absolutely not personally liable for your father's debts. By opening the estate, though you can actually get those creditors to go away! If you don't, they will continue to haunt you.
One more thing. The fee you pay the attorney comes out of the estate before the creditors get paid.
You might want to think for awhile before deciding to definitely give up your right to serve as executor.
4 lawyers agree