Guiding You Through Complex Legal Matters

Guiding You Through Complex Legal Matters

Common mistakes executors need to avoid during probate

On Behalf of | Jun 7, 2024 | Probate

Being an executor of an estate is an important assignment that ensures the deceased person has their wishes fulfilled regarding their assets and legacy. However, it is often more work than it appears to be on the surface.

Probate errors can lead to delays, penalties and family conflicts. Therefore, executors must watch out for common mistakes to ensure the process goes smoothly.

Distributing assets and property too quickly

One common mistake is distributing assets and property before settling debts and taxes. Executors might feel pressured by beneficiaries to move quickly. However, paying off any debts and taxes first is important and prevents headaches.

If an executor gives out assets too soon, there may not be enough left to cover these obligations. This can result in legal problems or personal financial liability.

Not keeping sufficient records

Another frequent error is failing to keep detailed records. Executors must track every transaction, including paid bills, distributed property and any other expenses. Keeping organized records ensures accountability and transparency throughout the process.

Without accurate records, executors might face questions or disputes from beneficiaries. This could complicate the process and cause unnecessary delays.

Missing deadlines

Executors also need to be aware of key deadlines. Missing deadlines for filing documents, paying taxes or informing beneficiaries can result in penalties and extended probate time.

Executors should familiarize themselves with the timeline and stay on top of all requirements to avoid these issues. Setting reminders, creating a detailed schedule and getting help from someone with experience in probate can be very helpful.

Not identifying exempt property

Executors sometimes overlook the identification of exempt property. Texas law protects certain assets from creditors, such as the homestead or some personal items. Failing to recognize and classify these exemptions can result in lost protections for the estate. This might lead to disputes or loss of property that beneficiaries would otherwise retain.

Getting things right with probate makes the outcome better for all involved parties. Executors must approach their duties thoughtfully to prevent complications and ensure fair distribution of the estate.