We focus exclusively on Florida trust and estate law

3 problems estate executors frequently encounter

On Behalf of | Jun 27, 2024 | Estate Planning

When someone you love asks you to be the executor of their estate, that’s a great honor – but they’re also laying a big responsibility on your shoulders.

Before you accept, think long and hard about what the job entails, because it’s a lot more complicated than most people realize. You have to secure their assets, open probate, file the deceased’s final tax returns and more. 

In addition to all the time-consuming work that goes into being the executor of someone’s estate, you can also encounter the following unexpected hazards:

1. Missing heirs or beneficiaries

Family members and friends sometimes unexpectedly lose touch – and that can put you in a bind if someone who has an interest in the estate has gone missing. Even a relatively simple estate can be complicated by the need to locate and notify a beneficiary or heir who isn’t easily found. Going through the statutory process to notify someone can drag out the time an estate is in probate.

2. Personal financial risk

The personal representative of someone’s estate is also personally responsible for any missteps that occur in the estate’s handling. You could find yourself on the hook for any financial losses the estate suffers due to your mistakes. 

3. Disagreeable beneficiaries

Nothing makes people more impatient than waiting on what they feel they are due – and you may be hard-pressed to make the beneficiaries of the estate understand why they cannot immediately access the funds they expect to inherit or take the personal mementos and family heirlooms they believe they were promised. 

Nobody should ever feel like they have to accept the executor’s role. If you’re uncertain if you’re up to the task, it may be wise to discuss your options with someone who can give you a realistic view of the work involved.