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Common Complaints Made Against the Executor of an Estate

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.[1]


[1] Disclaimer: The use of the Internet, Facebook and/or any other form of social media communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship.  Time-sensitive information should be directed immediately to the office of Zwick Law at (814) 371-6400.

 

 

TOP THREE ESTATE PLANNING MISTAKES

Last Will and Testament

Protecting your loved ones by creating an estate plan is very important — it gives those closest to you clear instructions on how to carry out your final wishes. Unfortunately, even a small estate planning mistake can cause months or years of probate-related confusion. To avoid difficult and expensive problems, not only should you consult with any attorney to create or edit your estate plan, but you also should discuss your wishes with those closest to you. Being aware of these three common estate planning errors can help you better protect your beneficiaries and secure the legacy you have left to your heirs.

No Records

The records you leave behind are a vital part of administering your estate. Without proper documentation, it becomes difficult for your executor and heirs to locate property, recover assets, and verify the estate’s outstanding debts. In some well-known cases, the family was not even able to locate the will that was created, causing numerous problems for everyone involved. When working on your estate plan, be sure to include detailed information and records that explain the location of your bank accounts, life insurance policies, tax information, etc.  It also is vital that your family knows where your will and important documents are stored.

Choosing the Wrong Executor

An executor is someone who should be trustworthy and reliable — after all, your executor is responsible for distributing your assets and adhering to your final wishes as outlined in your estate plan. However, no matter how thorough you feel your estate plan is, being an executer is still hard work and extremely time consuming. You must choose an executor who has the ability to dedicate him or herself to the long process of managing your affairs. Your executor will need to work alongside your attorney; remain in contact with your beneficiaries; care for your assets; file your final tax return; and more. If you choose someone who does not have time to communicate with your beneficiaries; has a conflict of interest; or otherwise cannot perform the duties, then the probate process could turn into a disaster for your heirs.

Establishing a Trust Incorrectly

Establishing a trust is one way to pass assets on to your heirs without incurring large tax penalties or jeopardizing any government benefits that your heirs receive. However, if a trust is established incorrectly, then it could cause the same financial harm that it was intended to avoid. Even if the trust itself seems to be established with no problems, other issues such as appointing the wrong trustee; not designating your beneficiaries correctly; and not updating the trust on a regular basis, can cause problems for those you were planning to help.

Contacting Zwick Law to Review Your Estate Plan

Regardless of the size of your estate, contacting an estate planning and estate administration attorney is highly recommended. At Zwick Law, we are able to make suggestions based on your unique situation, to help you create the best estate plan for your circumstances. Our team is dedicated to providing clients with the assistance that they need. We understand that estate planning is a sensitive topic for most families — but it is necessary to protect your family and future.  Contact us at one of our conveniently located offices in DuBois and Brookville, Pennsylvania, to schedule a legal consultation. At Zwick Law, we’re always here for you.[1]


[1] Disclaimer: The use of the Internet, Facebook and/or any other form of social media communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Time-sensitive information should be directed immediately to the office of Zwick Law at (814) 371-6400.