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Are there any risks to being an executor of someone’s estate?

On Behalf of | May 7, 2024 | Estate Administration And Probate |

When you were asked to be the executor of a loved one’s estate, you knew that was a great honor – and you appreciated their trust in you.

However, you may not have realized that being the executor of an estate is a very heavy responsibility, and it comes with its own fair share of dangers.

It’s a huge drain on your physical and emotional resources

There are many, many steps involved between the time someone dies and the time probate is closed – and executors are responsible for managing most of them. 

From securing the deceased assets and selling property to paying final debts and distributing the remainder according to the will or state law, that’s a lot to handle – and it takes a lot of energy and time. Many executors are underprepared for the amount of time they have to dedicate to navigating the intricate financial and legal issues involved in probating an estate.

In addition, executors often have to thread their way through a lot of complicated interpersonal drama with the deceased’s family members. From heirs who are demanding immediate access to their loved one’s personal mementos to heirs who think the executor is cheating them, the possibility of a dispute is high. That can be a significant stressor for the executor.

You can be exposed to personal liability for any mistakes

Executors have a fiduciary duty to act in the best interest of the estate and its beneficiaries when they’re handling the deceased’s assets. In estates with complex investments and property holdings, the possibility of mistakes and errors in judgment can increase.

You can be required to compensate creditors or beneficiaries for their losses if you make mistakes that cost the estate money, which is another stressful issue.

You wouldn’t agree to be the executor of someone’s estate unless your intentions were good – but the best of intentions may not be enough to shield you from all liabilities. That makes it wisest to seek legal guidance before you begin the estate administration process so that you know that you’re doing everything properly from the very start.

Let’s Do This Together.

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