May 12, 2014

An executor faces unique challenges in administering an estate where the deceased owned a business before death.  The executor should keep the following steps should be kept in mind:

• Find the will

• Determine the estate assets and liabilities. Understand where the estate ends and the business begins

• Determine the scope of the executor’s powers and obligations under the will, including ability to run the business

• Determine the scope of the executor’s contractual and statutory obligations under corporate law – such as shareholder agreements, articles of incorporation, and partnership agreements

• Decide whether the executor named in the will is in any conflict of interest, or is otherwise unable or unwilling to act as executor. If so, decide whether an institutional executor or an individual is better suited to act

• Maintain complete accounts (beginning with a list of original assets) and disclose information to beneficiaries early and often

• Act in good faith, use reasonable judgment, and seek help where appropriate (professional advice or direction from the court)

Read the full paper here.