Does Your Executor Live Out of State?

Often times we don’t think about where our family members are living, just as long as they’re where they want to be and that they’re happy. With the comfort of technology and accessibility to the many social media platforms out there, there’s no real concern over the distance between everyone. However, in the estate administration/probate world, we see and treat that distance a little differently. In fact, if anything happens to you (e.g. sudden death), it’s handled differently by the court.

Whether you have an estate plan in place or not, nothing can change the fact that the person you nominated in your Will to serve as Executor, or the next of kin who is up for appointment as Administrator, lives on the other end of the country. So, if they live in California and you live in North Carolina, and sudden death becomes your reality, leaving any portion of your estate to be probated, this person now has to execute their duties as Executor/Administrator with your domicile county court in North Carolina, while living in California.

With the amount of information and documentation required to file, and the time allotted to complete each task, the distance will be seen as inefficient if the clerk cannot correspond with them in a timely manner. Although advancing, our government programs and sources for communication are still very outdated. When the courts are issuing notices through snail-mail to the Executor/Administrator, they’ll want to see that the Notices are received in a timely manner and that it gives the Executor/Administrator sufficient time to act. Further, if the Executor/Administrator has become unresponsive and the courts need to locate them to have the Sherriff serve them; they’re certainly not going to order the Sheriff’s Office to drive across the country to do so.

Resident Process Agent Requirements

For this reason, a Resident Process Agent is required when an appointed Executor/Administrator lives outside of the state where the decedent’s estate is being probated. The Agent appointed to serve has to meet the following requirements:

  • 18+ years of age,
  • Reside in the state where the decedent’s estate is being probated,
  • No pending criminal charges nor felony charges or convictions in their criminal background/history,
  • The individual appointed should be accessible and reliable, and comfortable with receiving notices from the courts, on the Executor/Administrator’s behalf, and reporting it to them in a timely manner.

Their role is as important as that of the Executor/Administrator of the estate, considering their duty is establishing successful and efficient communication between the Executor/Administrator and the courts.

Plan Ahead

Have you talked to your family or your nominated Executors about their duties yet? Don’t know what an Executor or Administrator is? Don’t feel bad! You’re asking all the right questions! We have a great team ready to speak with you more about this. Call us to schedule a time to speak with one of our attorneys about your estate plan and what you can do to help prepare your future Executors or Administrators!