February 16, 2023
If you have been appointed as the executor of someone’s estate, it is your responsibility to pay the deceased’s remaining debts and distribute assets to the proper heirs. However, probate can be a confusing process, causing some executors to make costly mistakes.
Here are some common mistakes to avoid with probate.
Delaying the Probate Process
Losing a loved one is difficult, so it is understandable that you need time to mourn. However, as the legal professionals from Theus Law Offices may advise, it is still important to begin the probate process fairly soon. If you keep delaying the process, creditors may become pushier and heirs may become more demanding. This will just make the entire situation more stressful for you. Avoid these issues by starting the probate process in a timely manner.
Neglecting to Educate Yourself About Probate
Not many people know about everything that goes into the probate process. That is why it is worth it to educate yourself about probate as soon as possible. You may also consider scheduling an appointment with an experienced probate lawyer to discuss your case. A lawyer can address all of your questions and concerns and help you feel more comfortable about the entire ordeal.
Not Communicating with Heirs Regularly
When you are the executor of an estate, you are expected to maintain regular communication with heirs. They understandably want to know what is going with the probate process and may have plenty of questions. If they contact you, try and return their message within 24 hours. Otherwise, they may become nervous and suspicious, making the entire process even more difficult.
Calculating Estate Taxes Incorrectly
Estates may be subject to estate taxes, so you should calculate these taxes as soon as possible. To avoid calculating these taxes incorrectly, consider working with a reputable lawyer. He or she can be a big help and prevent you from making errors that could reduce the value of the estate.
Distributing Assets Too Early
Heirs may be eager to receive their inheritances soon, so you may feel pressured to distribute assets as soon as possible. However, you do not want to distribute them too soon. Remember that creditors must be prioritized before anyone else. If you distribute assets before paying creditors, you could be held personally liable.
Neglecting to Pick Up Mail from the Decedent’s Home
When you are the executor of an estate, it is your responsibility to obtain the decedent’s mail so that you don’t miss important notices from creditors or the court. Just contact your local post office and have them forward the decedent’s mail to your address.
Failing to Protect Property
As the executor, you have to secure and protect the decedent’s property immediately against trespassers and break-ins. You also have to pay the property insurance and taxes and properly maintain the property.
If you need assistance with the probate process, you should schedule a meeting with a qualified probate lawyer as soon as possible.