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Mistakes to avoid as the executor of a will

On Behalf of | Jul 1, 2020 | Probate |

At some point in your life, there’s a chance that a loved one could name you as the executor of their will. While they’re living, this doesn’t sound like that big of a deal. However, upon their passing, you’ll find yourself dealing with a variety of responsibilities.

As you get organized and learn more about what the probate process entails, it’s important that you take steps to prevent common mistakes. These include but are not limited to the following:

  • Procrastinating: This doesn’t mean you have to start the probate process the same day your loved one passes on. However, you don’t want to wait too long to put things on the right track. Once you’re mentally prepared to do so and organized to the point of knowing what to expect, take action.
  • Neglecting to keep accurate accounting records: As an executor, one of your top responsibilities is gathering and managing assets, all with the idea of distributing them in a timely manner. While doing so, it’s critical to keep accurate accounting records, as this will help when you’re making distributions, paying taxes and working with the probate court to finalize the process.
  • Forgetting to communicate with beneficiaries: If you make this mistake, it can cause quite a bit of tension between you and the people who are in line to receive the assets of the deceased. Adding to this, it also has the potential to result in a will contest. Beneficiaries will become suspicious of you if you don’t stay in touch. Even if you don’t have much to say, keep them involved along the way. You can’t answer every question or address every concern, but you can try. This is much better than cutting off all communication and hoping for the best.

When you avoid these mistakes as an executor of a will, you’ll feel more confident in the steps you’re taking and your ability to efficiently work through the many phases of the probate process.

Should you find that you’ve made a mistake, do whatever it takes to make things right. Attempting to cover it up will only make things worse in the long run.