5 Probate Mistakes That Can Create Issues

Law Blog

If you are the executor of another person's estate, you have a lot of responsibility on your hands. You have many people counting on you to administer the estate in a timely and accurate fashion. That is why it is critical to prepare properly and take everything one step at a time.

Here are some common probate mistakes you should avoid making.

Taking Too Long to Begin the Process

When you are grieving the loss of a family member, it is understandable that you do not want to immediately begin the probate process. However, that does not mean you should wait months. If you wait too long to pay debts and taxes, you may face penalties. 

To avoid issues, start the process as soon as you can.

Neglecting to Maintain Communication With Beneficiaries

Beneficiaries deserve to know what is going on during the probate administration process. That's why you should contact them often to let them know how everything is going. If you don't have any major updates, you should still call the beneficiaries to let them know that.

If you go weeks without providing them with updates, your beneficiaries may get suspicious and wonder if you're hiding anything.

Working With the Wrong Lawyer

The probate administrative process can be quite complex, so it's recommended to hire a lawyer. However, you should not just hire any lawyer. A divorce lawyer, for example, may agree to take your case, but might not have the proper experience.

To make sure the probate process goes smoothly, you should hire a lawyer who has several years of experience probating estates.

Not Keeping Real Estate in Good Shape

If the decedent owned real estate, it is your responsibility to maintain it. Pay the insurance and property taxes, keep the utilities on and do the necessary yard work. If anything gets broken or damaged, such as a window or roof, it is also your responsibility to repair it.

Giving Away Assets Too Soon

The decedent's beneficiaries are likely anxious to receive their inheritances. However, that doesn't mean you can distribute these assets too soon. If the decedent had any outstanding debts, they must be paid first. If you do not prioritize creditors, you could be held liable. 

If you avoid making these common probate mistakes, you can simplify the process. If you have further questions about the process, you should not hesitate to consult your lawyer.


31 March 2021

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