What are the perils of being the executor of someone’s estate?

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What are the perils of being the executor of someone’s estate?

On Behalf of | Apr 15, 2023 | estate administration & probate

You may feel that being named the executor of someone’s estate is an honor – but it’s also a heavy responsibility that involves managing the deceased person’s assets, paying off their debts, filing their final taxes and – eventually – distributing what is left to their heirs. 

Being the executor of someone’s estate is also problematic for other reasons. It’s not without certain associated risks. These include:

Personal liability

Executors are held personally responsible for any mistakes or errors they make in managing the estate. This can include failure to pay taxes or distribute assets correctly, and can result in financial penalties for the executor – or legal action.

Family conflicts

It can be tough on executors when the family members don’t all come together. Family members may disagree on how the estate should be distributed, which can create tension and conflict. Executors caught in the middle of these disputes may be forced to make difficult decisions that could strain relationships as they try to honor the testator’s wishes.

Time commitment

Serving as an executor can be a time-consuming process, especially if the estate is complex. Executors may need to spend significant time managing the estate, communicating with beneficiaries and filing paperwork with the court.

Financial risks

Executors may need to use their own money to pay for expenses related to the estate, such as legal fees or funeral costs, before being reimbursed. They need to handle these issues carefully, too, so that they aren’t accused of “self-dealing” or misappropriation of the funds.

Fortunately, executors don’t have to handle the entire probate process alone. Experienced legal guidance can help you avoid the pitfalls of the process and mistakes that could complicate both the estate and your future.

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