The role of the executor of an estate is one of complete trust and supreme responsibility. Whomever you choose to serve in this capacity will oversee your final wishes to ensure that the terms outlined in your estate plan are followed. In theory, the person who is the executor of your estate will have few problems with your beneficiaries. In reality, however, it is not unusual for your executor to be at odd with your heirs for a variety of reasons. Being aware of common complaints made against an executor will help you when the time comes to choose someone for that role and help that person prepare to manage your estate.
Conflict of Interest
A person with a small estate and limited beneficiaries will often name a person to execute his or her will, and that person also is commonly named as a beneficiary. Typically, that is not an issue and the other heirs will understand that being named in a will does not automatically mean that you will not be a fair executor. There are times when an executor has abused that position of trust and your other heirs may grow concerned, if they believe that your executor is focusing on his or her own best interest at the expense of their interests and those of the estate. Lack of trust may lead to claims of a conflict of interest, in an effort to disqualify your executor from continuing to operate in that capacity.
Mismanaging Funds of Estate
The assets of an estate must be managed properly during the probate process. Securing all assets is one of the most important roles of the position and is vital if the estate has many assets or outstanding debts. Transactions must be recorded throughout the process of paying debts, filing tax returns, and distributing bequests using the funds or property available. Sometimes, heirs will believe that the executor is not properly managing the assets of the estate and may file a complaint out of concern for the security of what they expect to inherit. While an executor is compensated for his or her time, the amount of compensation may seem nominal in comparison to the value of the estate, leading to unease from heirs who believe the executor will find other ways to be compensated.
Lack of Communication
One of the most time-consuming aspects of serving as an executor is communicating with everyone associated with the estate. Contacting creditors, keeping the courts informed, and talking to the beneficiaries is not always easy. Unfortunately, some beneficiaries may not be satisfied with the level of communication they are receiving from an executor. If they believe that they have not been contacted on a regular basis regarding the status of the estate, then they may initiate a complaint or attempt to get your executor removed.
Talk to an Experienced Attorney a Zwick Law
Choosing an executor is just one of the many things that you must do in order to secure your legacy for your loved ones. A qualified estate attorney at Zwick Law can guide you through the entire process, and help you decide who is best suited to manage your estate while seeing to your final wishes. The attorneys at Zwick Law are here to provide you with the legal advice and peace of mind that you need and deserve. Contact us today at 814-371-6400 to schedule an initial consultation at our DuBois or Brookville offices.
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