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5 things an executor should not do

On Behalf of | Jan 9, 2023 | Estate Planning |

As an executor, you are responsible for managing the estate of a deceased individual and carrying out their final wishes. But with this important role comes great responsibility, and there are certain actions you should avoid to fulfill your duties effectively and ethically. 

Here are five things an executor should refrain from doing:

1. Failing to follow the terms of the will 

An executor should follow the instructions and provisions in the will. If the will is found to be invalid, the executor must follow California’s intestacy laws. As an executor, you may find yourself facing court battles and racking up expensive legal fees if you fail to adhere to the terms of the will. 

2. Failing to keep accurate records

An executor needs to keep accurate records of all financial transactions related to the estate. This includes keeping track of debts and assets, as well as providing documentation to beneficiaries and tax authorities. Failing to maintain accurate records can lead to misunderstandings and disputes and even result in legal consequences.

3. Mismanaging assets 

An executor has a fiduciary duty to manage the assets of the estate responsibly. This includes making sound financial decisions, such as investing assets wisely or selling property at a fair market value. 

4. Failing to communicate with beneficiaries

It is essential for an executor to keep beneficiaries informed about the status of the estate and any decisions that are being made. Communication breakdown can cause resentment and mistrust and could lead to expensive legal disputes.

5. Acting in their own self-interest

An executor should always act in the best interests of the estate and its beneficiaries rather than in their own personal interests. This means avoiding conflicts of interest, such as using estate assets for personal gain or prioritizing the interests of particular beneficiaries over others.

Being an executor is a serious responsibility, and it is critical for individuals in this role to act with integrity and professionalism. By avoiding these common mistakes and seeking legal guidance, you can fulfill your duties effectively and ethically.

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