An executor plays an imperative role in administering an estate. Executors are often appointed in a Will to administer the will-maker’s estate and perform the wishes of the will-maker. They are also called legal representatives of an estate. But sometimes, these executors often commit mistakes that expose the estate to litigation, enhanced tax liability and create other difficult situations. If an executor wants to lessen his liability, he should consult with a reputed deceased estate lawyer Adelaide to accomplish the entire estate process in a hassle-free way.
Let’s take a look at 7 common mistakes that an executor often commits while processing a deceased estate.
Unable to find issues with the Will
Sometimes, an executor is unable to identify some issues related to the Will. He should try to solve it with professional assistance, else it may lead to complications, disputes, and delays.
· The original Will is missing or misplaced, and the executor only has a copy
· Reasonable searches for any later Wills and/or codicils have not been made
· The date of the Will is inconsistent
· The Will is damaged
· The Will is not signed properly by the Will-maker and two witnesses
Failing to investigate all assets and liabilities of the estate
The prime role of an executor is to identify, locate, manage, and protect all the assets of the estate until it is not distributed properly among receivers. An executor needs to ensure that all liabilities of the estate are paid from estate funds before distribution among beneficiaries. The value of the assets held by the deceased may also answer the question of whether a grant of prob will be required or not.
A grant of probate is a legal document that confirms the power of an executor in managing the estate of a deceased person as per the Will of the deceased Will-maker. If the holder of the assets will not release them without a grant of probate, then an executor should apply to the Supreme Court for a grant.
Failing to keep records
An executor is responsible for keeping records of everything that they do on behalf of the estate. Unfortunately, executors may fail to keep detailed records of what comes in and what goes out of an estate. In the end, an executor needs to provide the details of all money received by, and paid out of, the estate to the beneficiaries.
Mixing estate funds with personal funds
Very often, an executor mixes estate funds with his personal funds. This should be avoided under any circumstances. An executor can only hold the estate’s funds in trust. Accordingly, an executor should be opening a trust or estate account for the funds. If there is any loss to the estate by mixing the funds with the executor’s personal funds, this may lead to personal liability for the executor.
Too early distribution of money among beneficiaries
Sometimes, under the pressure of beneficiaries, an executor often distributes available funds from the estate before collecting all the assets and clearing all debts just to keep heirs happy. But the early distribution of assets may cause problems as it can be very easy to lose track of who has received what and how the remaining amounts will be distributed. In future, this can also lead to a tax liability or any unexpected creditors come forward to clear their amount. So, an executor may be personally liable if he distributes the asset early.
Delaying administration of the estate
An executor who is unable to administer an estate in time or who generally doesn’t act in the interests of the beneficiaries should be removed from the position. An executor should conduct the complete administration of an estate within 12 months from the date of death.
Acting as an executor without legal assistance
Sometimes, an executor should take legal assistance from deceased estate lawyers Adelaide to accomplish the process in a hassle-free way. If an executor is unable to administer an estate, he should consult with a legal professional so there is no dispute between the beneficiaries.
Being an executor can be an onerous task, so you should avoid the above mistakes to fulfil your duties successfully.
Evans Testa Barristers and Solicitors is a leading lawyer agency that helps you in administering a deceased estate. The agency offers different types of lawyers as per the requirement of the customers. If you are looking for deceased estate lawyers Adelaide, you should get in touch with this agency to successfully handle all legal matters.