Being named the executor of someone’s estate is a huge expression of trust — and a tremendous responsibility. You’re charged with securing all of that person’s assets and making certain that his or her final wishes are followed.
If you want to avoid a multitude of problems (and potential legal action), avoid making these particular mistakes:
As the executor, you have to be fair to everyone involved with the estate — no matter what your personal feelings about any particular individual. You also have to make certain that you don’t exhibit any kind of favoritism to one heir over the others.
The estate’s heirs may be anxious about the will and the process by which their inheritances will be distributed. While it may strain your patience at times to constantly update them on your progress, not doing so could provoke them into asking the court to remove you from your position.
If you’re overwhelmed with the entire process of handling the estate, get help. Financial advisors, insurance advisors and other professionals can help you manage the tasks. Ignoring your obligation because you aren’t sure where to start can be a major liability.
Remember that you have a fiduciary duty to the heirs and don’t take chances. If something goes wrong, you could be financially liable for any losses suffered by the estate or its heirs.
It’s often wisest to consult with an attorney regarding an estate as soon as you can. Contact our office to learn more about how we can help you determine which of the deceased’s assets are subject to probate and figure out the steps you need to take in order to eventually close out the estate.