Sometimes, a chosen executor may not feel capable of this responsible role of settling an estate. Or other times, that person may take a flippant view of these duties. In either scenario, mistakes are possible.
Some of those mistakes may be unintended, while others due to neglect of duties. Either way, there is no room for executor mistakes. An executor was entrusted with these responsibilities in the probate process.
Here are some executor mistakes that may surface:
- Keeping heirs in the dark: Regular updates with probate matters are not only courteous, but also part of the executor’s role. Heirs must be kept informed through communication methods such as phone calls, letters and emails.
- Procrastination and neglecting duties: With many responsibilities, an executor must be prompt and proactive with every aspect of this role. The long list of tasks includes paying outstanding taxes and bills, contacting beneficiaries, obtaining death certificates and distributing assets.
- Not understanding personal liability matters: By not fulfilling the duties of an executor, people in this role set themselves up for legal trouble. Breach of fiduciary duty is a serious allegation and may lead to a regrettable lawsuit.
- Currying favor with specific heirs: An executor’s responsibilities are to the estate and each heir. Showing favoritism in ways that may include giving more assets to a certain heir may lead to an executor’s removal. Behind-the-scenes promises are no-nos.
An executor is assigned this role for a reason. The testator trusted you to follow his or her wishes of the estate plan. Blunders along the way will tarnish the estate as well as the executor’s reputation.
Mistakes may lead to removal
The role of an executor is a crucial one. The duties represent a pivotal part of the probate process. Mistakes are detrimental to the estate and may lead to an executor’s removal as well as avoidable legal action.