How to Hire an Executor. For your loved one’s estate or your will.

E293 How to Find the Will

E293 How to Find the Will

How do you find the original will after someone dies? We’ll cover where to search, how to get access, and what happens if you can’t find the original.

Did the attorney keep the original will?

It is common for an attorney to hold the original will. If you have a copy of the will, the lawyer’s name is usually written on it. You can look for the name on the backer, or maybe he was a witness or the notary.

If you don’t have a copy, check the decedent’s contacts app or rolodex for any attorneys. Don’t overlook the attorneys who don’t do estate planning; you never know what leads you will get. You can also ask the decedent’s CPA or others who may have referred the decedent to an estate planning attorney. Eventually, one of these contacts should lead to the attorney who holds the original will.

New York petition to search the home

New York petition to search the home

If you determine that the will must be in the decedent’s home, you need a court order to enter the home. Thankfully, court is pretty quick in issuing this kind of order, unless the will is contested. Typically, it shouldn’t take longer than a couple weeks to get the order.

When you enter the building, you must be accompanied by a police officer or building management. The reason is that an order to search the home is different than acting with full executor powers. You will be limited to searching for documents such as the will, life insurance policies, funeral arrangements, etc. If you find the documents, you must immediately turn them over to the court.

The procedure for searching a safe deposit box or a storage unit is substantially the same. To enter a safe deposit box, you’ll be accompanied by the bank officer. It’s better for everyone involved that there are witnesses. You don’t want to be accused of anything.

What happens if the original of a will is lost?

If can prove that the will was not in the decedent’s possession when she passed, then it is possible to ask court to probate the copy. Perhaps the attorney or the CPA says they had it at the time of her passing.

However, if the decedent must have had the will, the law assumes that the decedent intentionally destroyed/revoked the will. This is the legal assumption, even if it’s not what really happened. In this case, you must move on with administration, which is the process in which the default inheritance laws are applied.

So, do your best to find the will!

If you are young and you have a will, it may not help to tell your executor where it is; you could live for many more decades. But, if you are older or terminally ill, it is a good idea to let your executor know where to find your will when you pass.

To learn more, check out my book, “How to Hire an Executor,” available on Amazon.

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E289 Why You Need a Local Executor in New York

E289 Why You Need a Local Executor in New York


Most people correctly assume you need a local executor in New York, but they may not know exactly why. Let’s review a few real-world scenarios and reasons why you need an executor local to New York.

KYC requirements

KYC requirements

KYC stands for “know your customer,” and this applies to banking requirements. Banks take steps to make sure the customer is who they say they are. This helps prevent fraud, terrorism, and money laundering. Often banks require meeting the executor in person to close an account or open the estate account – they have to physically see the authorized person sign the opening and closing documents.

This may seem hard to believe, since you can open a bank account via text, app, website, etc. in minutes nowadays! However, in probate, an executor represents someone else (the estate or the heirs). Going to the bank in person is usually required and very inconvenient for an executor who lives far away.

The process also applies to brokerages or any regulated financial institution.

Selling New York real estate

Selling New York real estate

First, we’ll talk about the physical logistics such as the cleanout, renovations, and choosing the broker. It may be possible to do these things remotely, but it’s better to be there in person to oversee that nothing is breaking and that the renovations are up to par. Someone should be there to make sure the personal effects are sent to the heirs properly. Similarly, would you buy a home by video, or would you like to see it in person?

Choosing a broker in person is important to help get a sense of whether they understand the nuisances of the particular unit and type of neighborhood.

When it comes to New York real estate, there is a good chance you will be dealing with a co-op. We’ve talked at length before about New York co-op rules. Some of the co-ops require, above and beyond New York state law, that the executor be a New York resident. Co-ops are their own little kingdoms with their own set of rules. It is really tough for an outside executor to understand the co-op rules if they are not familiar with New York co-ops.

Also, real estate closings in New York are not conducted remotely or by FedEx. We still sit around a table for 3 or 4 hours in-person and then sign the papers furiously at the end. Antiquated, yes, but it’s how it’s done.

Dealing with local bureaucracies

Dealing with local bureaucracies

Until recently, ordering death certificates online didn’t exist or at least didn’t apply to New York City. You had to go down to the Health and Human Services Department and stand in line. To get it done quickly, you better know the lady behind the desk!

Similarly, while you can technically order court documents online, it is actually easier if you have someone get them in person. For example, to order a certified copy of a file, you need to know the page count, because they charge per page. How do you get the page count unless you go to the courthouse and see the file? Calling and asking how many pages are in the file isn’t going to happen.

We know that these seem like odd examples, but these are real life situations. That being said, my book, “How to Hire an Executor,” is definitely a good idea if you are thinking of appointing an out-of-town executor.

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E285 How Professional Executors Manage Tax Clearance Delays

E285 How Professional Executors Manage Tax Clearance Delays


Every executor faces the tax risks unless they get proper tax clearance, which can take a LONG time. Here’s how we’ve seen that plays out with professional executors, non-estate attorneys, and amateur executors.

Professional executors set patient expectations

Professional executors set patient expectations

We advise heirs from the beginning that this will be a long process! This probably turned away many prospective clients who thought I was crazy for saying it could take years and decided to go with an attorney who told them it would take only months. (I’m pretty sure it ends up taking years for those attorneys, too). I’d rather be warned that it could take years, than to expect the over-promised and under-delivered “few months”.

We keep reminding our clients over the months that it is a long process. People don’t want to hear it, but at least they’re not wondering what’s going on.

An example of how long things can take: We filed an application for tax clearance for Mr. M.’s estate in September 2020. The IRS just responded via a computer-generated letter in July 2022 (almost 2 years later!). The IRS hasn’t even granted the tax clearance yet; the letter just acknowledged that they received our application.

This is why we set up the expectations in the beginning, because there’s nothing we can do about the government.

General attorneys react

General attorneys react

General attorneys can be very reactive if they have not had experience in this area. Many potential clients call us in similar situations where things are going slow, asking if their attorney is doing something wrong.

The potential client is dealing with the same set of facts that we deal with, except that his attorney has not set any expectations and is communicating with the heirs.

In order to get a case, some attorneys tell prospective clients that “probate” takes a few months. What they mean is that’s how long it may take to get letters testamentary. They don’t tell the client that getting letters is just step 1 of the 3 stages of probate.

Similarly, once the house is sold or accounts are collected, non-specialist attorneys tell the heirs that payout is imminent. But the inexperienced attorney comes to realize that to protect their client (the executor) from personal liability to the IRS, they must first get clearance.

Then the attorney has to break the news to heirs who thought they were about to get a check that it may be a LONG time. It’s all about expectations and being able to see a couple steps ahead; not just react to the situations as they come.

Friends or family executors get blindsided

Friends or family executors get blindsided

The previous situation isn’t great, but it’s not as bad as when an amateur executor gets blindsided. Sadly, amateur executors (friends and family) often don’t even realize they must get tax clearance first. Then they get hit with the personal tax liability.

For example, Ms. V. was the executor for her uncle’s estate, and she didn’t know to get the tax clearance. She just paid out the funds quickly to happy heirs.

Then IRS sent her a letter informing her that the estate owes $20,000 in taxes.

She had to try and recoup the funds from the heirs. Mrs. V. reached out to the heirs and waited patiently for the checks. How many checks do you think came in? None.

Some people might say, “Oh, my family wouldn’t do that to me.” Well, some heirs may want to help out, but in some cases, they’ve already spent their inheritance.

Unfortunately, the IRS doesn’t care who pays the taxes, as long as they get paid. Executors are personally liable. So, Mrs. V. had to come up with a way to get $20,000 to pay the IRS. To this day, I do not know if she took out a loan or if she was able to recoup the money from the heirs.

Having an amateur executor is probably the worst situation. They don’t know to how set expectations, and they end up getting into messy situations. This is a good reason to check out my book, “How to Hire an Executor.”

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E280 Someone Died, But No One Wants to be Executor

E280 Someone Died, But No One Wants to be Executor


We often get hired when someone has died, but no one wants to be the executor. Sometimes there was a will with nominated executors who don’t want to serve. Other times there was no will, but none of the next of kin want to do the job. So they hire us as the professional executor.

Being executor is too much work

Being executor is too much workMost folks who’ve been an executor before avoid doing it again. They know first-hand how time-consuming it can be. Generally, we’re referring to people other than surviving spouse or children. The job is a bit easier for surviving spouse or children, because there is a lot of shared knowledge and possibly even shared assets.

Other relatives or friends who have served as an executor before know how time-consuming it can be. Or perhaps they’ve heard enough horror stories from friends. (Plus, if you’ve heard our prior podcasts, you know how difficult it can be!).

Too old to be executor

Too old to be executor

Some nominated executors simply feel that they are too old to be an executor. This doesn’t necessarily mean they’re incompetent. Perhaps they were nominated many years ago when they were younger, but now they know that being an executor can be stressful. Perhaps now they are used to low-stress retirement life, and they don’t need any new stress. No need to increase that blood-pressure medication!

Also, in terms of logistics, being an executor requires a lot of legwork, doing things in person, running around town for real estate, waiting in line at banks, going to the courthouse, etc. This may not seem appealing when you expected to relax in your old age. There are also tasks that can be done electronically, and an older person may not be very tech-savvy.

Can I be estate executor if I live far away?

The executor may live out of state or abroad, but it could cause some issues. The main issue is that the executor may be unfamiliar with local customs and laws.

For example, if you are an executor residing in Colorado for a New York estate, you will be bewildered by how NYC co-ops work

Perhaps an executor from Europe assumes that wiring funds to the heirs works best. You would be shocked to find out that wiring could be a huge mistake.

For the same reasons as an older executor, there’s too much legwork to get done from afar. The number of flights alone would be cost-prohibitive and a pain. Unfortunately, many probate documents need original, wet signatures. We have sent documents overseas, and even one document in one envelope can cost $150!

So, if neither you nor your family members want to be someone’s executor, remember that there are folks like us out there who can handle it. Declining to serve as an executor is very common, and there is no reason to feel guilty about it. You might be better off remembering your loved one fondly instead of remembering the frustrating estate work.

If you fit into the criteria above, please check out my book “How to Hire an Executor” available on Amazon.

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E275 US Professional Executor for Federal Transfer Certificates

E275 US Professional Executor for Federal Transfer Certificates


Many non-US heirs need a professional executor to get federal transfer certificates.

What is a federal transfer certificate?

It is an IRS document, specifically, Form 5173. It is used to confirm through the IRS that there is no estate tax due, or it’s already been paid. The certificate allows the financial institution off the hook for taxes.

In absence of this, they can be liable! For example, lets’ say E*Trade has a brokerage account for a decedent who was a non-resident, non-citizen. If any tax was owed, but E*Trade releases the funds prior to the tax being paid, then E*Trade owes the IRS those taxes. This transfer certificate is the IRS’s way of letting E*Trade know that it is safe to release the funds to the executor or heirs. Because of this liability, banks and brokerages will not release the money without this certificate.

When is a federal transfer certificate required?

First, the decedent should be a non-resident alien (NRA). Second, the decedent’s assets must be US assets: stocks, real estate (but not bonds, cash, checking account, etc.).

The executor must send the certificate to the financial institution, or else the bank cannot and will not release funds.

If estate is large enough that it requires a federal estate tax return (706NA), just file the return instead using the federal transfer certificate. After filing the federal estate tax return, you will receive a closing letter from the IRS stating that they agree with your return and that the matter is closed. You can take the closing letter to the bank, and they will release the funds without the federal transfer certificate. You do not need to do both.

Recently, we’ve found that some institutions interpret to mean that if there there is a US professional executor (as opposed to a foreign executor), then no federal transfer certificate is needed. Hurray! Right? Unfortunately, this is usually not the case. Even if the law has changed, most financial institutions have not caught up. They are still requiring federal transfer certificates.

But, even if a federal transfer certificate isn’t required, the US executor is personally liable for estate tax. For that same reason, I, as a professional US executor, will not release the funds until I have filed the estate tax return. I will apply for the tax clearance anyway, so it’s really just a similar situation with the same result. Somebody has to make sure the taxes are paid so it doesn’t come back to hurt them later on.

How to get a federal transfer certificate

How to get a federal transfer certificate

There are detailed instructions on the IRS website: https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/transfer-certificate-filing-requirements-for-the-estates-of-nonresidents-not-citizens-of-the-united-states

The application information for the federal transfer certificate is substantially similar to the estate tax return (706NA).

The IRS website says it can take 6 weeks to 6 months to respond to the application for certificate. However, as we know, it has been taking much longer these days. We have discussed previously about the numerous IRS delays, and as a result, the turnaround time is  unpredictable. It could take years, unfortunately.

We trying to set the expectations as realistically as possible. Even if we file immediately, it won’t move the IRS any faster. This can be very frustrating, especially for the heirs.

If you want to learn more about professional executorship, especially if you are in another country, my book “How to Hire an Executor” will help shed more light on the topic.

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E271 Non-Professional with Probate Real Estate


Today we describe some real-world examples of mistakes made by non-professional executors dealing with probate real estate.

Making it personal with tenants

Often times, a non-professional executor is a family member or friend who has too much history with the tenants.

Making it personal with tenants

For example, one of our executors helped the decedent in her final years and felt that the tenants were taking advantage of the decedent (late paying rent, not cleaning up after themselves, poor property upkeep, etc.). So, when the decedent passed, the executor has lots of bones to pick with the tenants: where the tenants parked, the condition of property, etc.

If tenants want to be difficult, they can make probate very difficult. As we’ve talked about before, it can be very hard to get rid of bad tenants in probate, so picking a fight isn’t helpful. For the sake of probate, it’s often best to let it go and move on.

In our example, the executor got into huge fight with tenants and the tenants called the police. A huge production was made, and we had to spend months in litigation to get them to vacate.

When a professional executor is involved, he or she doesn’t have that blood-boiling history with tenants. A benefit of hiring a professional executor is that we don’t get emotionally invested.

Knowing what renovations are worth doing

Knowing what renovations are worth doing

In the past, we’ve discussed certain renovations that almost always make sense (Episode 254: Best Renovations to do Before Selling Probate Real Estate) These include a fresh coat of paint, cleaning out the home, etc.

We recently had an executor who believed the decedent’s home was fine to sell as-is. Let me tell you that the place was not fine. But the executor had the position that if “it was good enough for my aunt to live there, it’s good enough for buyers.” Perhaps it was something sentimental to her that the house looked a certain way, but that’s not what buyers are looking for.

Because of this, the executor declined even a basic paint job. It is almost certainly going to be a struggle to sell.

Choosing the right broker

Choosing the right broker is tricky, even with a normal sale. You need to pick the right fit for the property and the right demeanor as a seller. Of course, it’s even harder in probate.

Choosing the right broker

Even if you find an excellent broker for the neighborhood, you also need someone who understands probate issues. For example, I am dealing with a situation where neither the buyer’s broker nor the seller’s broker understood that the seller was in probate. So, the day before closing, they said they “need something called Letters Testamentary before we can proceed.” Only then did they learn that the heirs were not in agreement, so there was no property to be sold! It was a huge waste of everyone’s time.

That was an extreme situation, but there are many other nuance situations where if you don’t have a broker experienced with probate, time and money are wasted.

For example, we have an executor who hired the dreaded “friend” broker. Friend brokers can be great, but this is not the time to repay favors to a friend via estate work. Estates are complicated already. The second problem was that the broker was from out of state and didn’t understand local customs. Third, the broker listed the home at a high price. In probate, you want to sell fast, but listing at a high price psychologically pegged the executor’s mind to that unrealistic number. A probate-experienced broker would avoid that situation. High prices turn away buyers who know the area and know that the seller has unrealistic expectations.

When an offer finally came in, the out-of-state broker prepared a binding contract and had the executor sign it. (In New York, a lawyer usually prepares or reviews the contract, because there are a lot of nuances that can cause disadvantages and risk). As a result, this executor unknowingly made some big concessions and promises she didn’t need to make.

These are things we’ve seen a lot lately. We share these scenarios to help you avoid future problems and consider the importance of hiring a professional executor. If you are interested in learning more, please check out my book called, “How to Hire an Executor,” available on Amazon.

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E270 3 Bitcoin Wallets Executors Overlook

E270 3 Bitcoin Wallets Executors Overlook


When someone passes away, it is the executor’s job to gather the decedent’s assets. What are the Bitcoin wallets executors may overlook? We’ve discussed how to look for common bitcoin key storage (Episode 253 3 Steps When a Bitcoin Owner Dies), such as hardware wallets, software wallets, and seed phrases. But a professional bitcoin executor will also find these others.

Wallets on nodes

Wallets on nodes

Think of a node as your own server on the bitcoin network. Bitcoin is a digital currency, and the way it travels through the world is through nodes. Nodes are intentionally inexpensive and meant for individuals to be able to afford and maintain. Nodes are meant for the individuals to be the backbone of the system, not big companies.

If a professional bitcoin executor sees the decedent was serious about bitcoin, privacy, and decentralization, the executor knows to look for a node. These nodes can even be on a Raspberry Pi or an old laptop, as long as there is sufficient memory space. Why look there? Because these nodes will often have a wallet inside them.

Lightning channels

Lightning channels

On a high level, the lightning network is a second layer on top of the main bitcoin network. The lightning layer relies on “channels” between lightning nodes.

Say you use Vemno, and you are hanging out with your friend for dinner. Maybe you owe her $5 for the drink and she owes you $10 for dinner. Venmo is not actually transmitting money back and forth each time you do. Venmo keeps a tally of what is moving back and forth between you, and at the end of the day/week/month, it totals a net amount of dollars to be transmitted from your bank to your friend’s bank (or vice versa). Think of it like an abacus where you move the beads back and forth. Here, the main network is the banks and Venmo is the connector/second layer. Venmo has to hold some money to make sure those transactions happen.

Similarly, if you and I transact with bitcoin, we’re not going to send bitcoin to each other every time. We could set up a lightning channel between us. Let’s say we regularly send $100 between ourselves, so we probably have a channel with about $500. That $500 is locked into the lightning channel between us.

Upon my passing, my executor should close the channel and find out what is owed you and to my estate. A professional bitcoin executor will recognize a lightning wallet, and search for node to close channels to release channel funds.

The example of $500 may not seem like a lot of money. But, if the channel was established a while ago, and bitcoin has gone up in value, it might have a significant value.

Hopefully I got this right. If you are more technically savvy in cryptocurrency, please feel free to correct me!

Alternative exchanges

Alternative exchanges

We’ve talked about the main exchanges before. Nowadays, even non-Bitcoin enthusiasts have heard of Binance, Coinbase, Kraken, and other large exchanges.

There are even more alternative exchanges that focus on privacy, international exchange, etc. They may not even be companies, but decentralized software. A professional bitcoin executor will also recognize alternative exchanges and know how to recover funds on alt exchanges such as Bisq or HodlHodl.

This topic is constantly evolving, and we will try our best to keep you up to date. Please send us your questions and we will do our best to respond!

If you want to learn more about professional executors, please check out my book, “How to Hire an Executor.”

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E267 Why They Want a Professional Executor

E267 Why They Want a Professional Executor


Our clients want a professional executor for many reasons. Most commonly they have no heirs, or their family lives abroad. But those aren’t the only reasons. We’ll share a few recent examples of why clients want a professional executor.

19 Heirs!

19 Heirs!

Mr. and Mrs. K. are in their 70s, and they want a professional executor for when they pass. They have 19 nieces and nephews as heirs, scattered across the US. Mr. And Mrs. K. do not want to choose from the 19 heirs for a couple of reasons.

First, they don’t want to sow discord by singling out one heir to be executor. When just 1 out of 19 has more authority or power, the others may become jealous or suspicious.

Secondly, Mr. And Mrs. K. know what probate can be like from past experiences. They understand that having 19 heirs across a dozen states is going to be a headache for the executor. Even having two heirs in different states is a hassle, especially when original wet signatures are required on certain documents. Having a professional executor is beneficial Mr. and Mrs. K.’s of situation.

Son cannot manage own finances

Son cannot manage own finances

People from all walks of life can benefit from hiring a professional executor, not just Solo Agers. For example, Mr. and Mrs. J. have an adult son who, for various reasons, has not taken flight from the nest. Although the son doesn’t live at home, Mr. and Mrs. J. financially support him, including paying his rent.

Understandably, Mr. And Mrs. J. don’t feel comfortable having their son handle their estate. Since he is financially dependent on his parents, Mr. and Mrs. J. need a professional trustee to continue to manage funds and financially support their son when they’re gone.

Executorship would be too much

Some clients don’t want to burden a loved one with the responsibilities of executorship. Ms. H. is single mom with 2 adult daughters. One daughter lives in Europe, so it is unrealistic for her to be the executor. The other daughter lives nearby, but she is busy raising her 3 young kids.

Executorship would be too much

It is simply not realistic to ask either daughter to execute an estate, given distance and everyday business of their own lives. Being an executor is a whole job on top of whatever job(s) you already have in life. As we’ve discussed many times, the probate process can be long and difficult. Not understanding the documents and requirements of probate adds to the difficulty of administering an estate. Let alone, dragging 3 small children with you to the banks!

These are all great reasons for considering a professional executor. If you want to learn more about how a professional executor can help, check out my book, “How to Hire an Executor,” available on Amazon.

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E263 Not All Lawyers are Good Executors

E263 Not All Lawyers are Good Executors


There are many excellent probate lawyers who would be terrible executors. Why? Let’s break down what you need to have to be a professional executor.

The right support team

The right support team

Probating an estate takes a LOT of hours. It is not reasonable for those hours to be charged on an attorney’s billable time; your estate will go broke in no time. Some lawyers who are just starting out might do everything on their own, but that’s a recipe for burning out quickly.

The attorney must have well-trained, experienced paralegals and support staff. This is a huge asset for an executor while carrying out their duties over a period of months or even years. We’ve had some clients ask if they can just hire the paralegals! Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite work that way.

Think technically, not strategically

Think technically, not strategically

Some probate lawyers tend to think more technically, not strategically. That’s not a bad thing; competent probate lawyers will know the steps to get from point A to point B.

But sometimes the question is, SHOULD we be trying to get to point B? You may need to step back and see the bigger picture. A good executor thinks strategically and sees around corners.

For example, a good lawyer knows which forms to send out to complete the court probate package. A good executor also knows which forms to use but also knows that some forms alarm heirs and cause them to clam up. A good executor won’t just send out the forms to the heirs but will take the time to explain the forms and walk the heirs through the process.

Pessimists make good lawyers

Pessimists make good lawyers

Lawyers are supposed to expect the worst, it helps them to draft all those contract clauses to prepare for worst case scenarios. But such pessimism may paralyze an executor, who has a duty to reasonably keep the probate estate moving forward. The executor’s job isn’t to make sure that nothing bad ever happens, but to keep the process going to get the checks into the hands of the heirs. The mindset is a bit of a balancing act.

A good executor will be aware of the downsides, because they could be personally liable for things that go wrong. But the executor should be able to weigh the situation and embrace whatever solutions are available to keep things moving. There is a difference between being aware that something bad could happen and being crippled by the possibility.

A good example of this is closing an estate with an accounting reserve. Meaning, you’re 95% sure the estate is ready to close, and you are ready to get the checks to the heirs. But there is a 5% chance that could be a tax issue or creditor. Since the executor is personally liable, it’s tempting for him not to make any distributions until he is sure that there are no issues. One solution is to close the estate but hang on to a reserve amount to handle any possible problems. This will move things forward to settle the estate.

Hopefully this will help you identify what kind of executor you want for your will. If you decide to hire a professional executor, call them and interview them before making the decision. To learn more, check out my book, “How to Hire an Executor,” available on Amazon.

 

E259 Professional Executor for Non-US Heirs

E259 Professional Executor for Non-US Heirs


Hiring a professional executor is particularly useful for non-US heirs. Most state rules make it tough for you to be a US executor if you are not from or currently living the US.

US Executor Qualifications

US Executor Qualifications

Many states outright prohibit non-US citizens or residents from being a US executor. Some states are a bit more nuanced. New York allows a non-citizen to be executor, but only if they’re also a New York resident. You must prove that you are a New York resident not only when applying for executorship, but also whenever you are acting as the executor.

For example, we have a non-US citizen heir who moved to New York for the purpose of being an executor. Then in the past two years, he moved out of state. When he tried to use his letters at the co-op, the co-op would not accept his letters because he was no longer a New York resident. In order for your letters to be valid, you must stay a New York resident.

Can you be a US executor if you live abroad?

Can you be a US executor if you live abroad?

Sometimes it can be done, but it’s challenging. New York may allow it, but only if you have a US co-executor. This is a pain because it means more paperwork during probate. For anything that requires a signature, you’re basically doing the work twice. If you are overseas, you’d have to go to an apostille or a consulate. Just the postage alone to sign each document can be quite expensive.

Further, even if the court allows it, you now have an overseas co-executor who has to get US notarizations, which is often a frustrating process. And more, the co-executor may even have to fly into New York for mundane tasks. You’d think that in 2022, you’d be able to accomplish these tasks online or over the phone. Nope. There are a surprising number of tasks that require in-person visits. Banks and co-ops are two of the biggest culprits.

We have a situation where a retail store in Colorado is part of the estate. The store security system won’t speak to the executor, unless it is in-person. Also, the bank in Colorado requires an in-person visit to close the decedent’s account.

What if the non-US court has appointed an Executor?

What if the non-US court has appointed an Executor?

Many ask: what if I’m a non-US citizen, non-resident, but I’m the court appointed executor in Spain, England, etc. of an estate with US assets? Then, can I be a US executor?

No, because the probate procedure will be slightly different. It’s called “ancillary probate.” All of the rules of about citizenship and residency discussed above still apply. Even if you are a citizen/resident of Spain and are appointed there, you still need a US co-executor. Better yet, hire a professional US executor to collect the US assets.

Because of the complexity of being a non-US citizen executor, people seek our help to make the process much easier. We work with international heirs often, and we are familiar with administering these types of estates.

If you want to learn more about professional executors, check out my book, “How to Hire an Executor,” available on Amazon.