Why Executors Need Legal Counsel

Lake Forest, IL Estate Planning Attorney Rick Lesser answers the question: “If I have been named the executor of an estate, why should I think about hiring a lawyer?”

Contact Rick Lesser

Phone: (847) 235-6745


First of all, because you’ve never done it before and like any job and being an executor or a trustee is a job. It’s an honor for about the first 30 seconds and then it becomes a job. And like any other job, having some experience is very helpful in doing the job well and I think everybody who becomes an executor or trustee wants to do a good job. Now in particular, these are complicated jobs. It’s a fiduciary job. You have what’s called a fiduciary relationship with the beneficiaries and that means owing them the highest good faith and fair dealing. It’s very difficult to fulfill that duty when you have never done it before.

Therefore, hiring a lawyer who can advise you of first of all, what your duties are and secondly, how to fulfill those and help you to collect a bank account, to file an income tax return is, I think, an essential part of the trustee or the executor’s role. You need to have counsel and I view our job, our role as your attorney to keep you out of trouble. To protect the executor or trustee from any kind of liability. These are roles if you do them wrong you can be personally liable for mistakes that you may make even unintentionally. Our job as counsel is to both try to help you fulfill the role but also to be sure that you, the fiduciary, are protected.