If you have agreed to be the executor of an estate, you may be wondering how to succeed in such a critical role.
Being the executor for someone’s estate is a time-consuming and difficult undertaking. Making a mistake with something so important is the last thing anyone wants to do. Despite the complicated nature of executing a will, there are a few commonly occurring mistakes to be aware of.
The first step to avoiding mistakes is to be aware of what they are:
- Not understanding your role
- Rushing through responsibilities
- Lack of communication
By understanding the ways that others frequently fail, you can improve your approach.
Prevention and preparation
Be prepared for what this role will entail. You should understand the basic requirements of the position, including the probate process. You should also familiarize yourself with how to uphold the fiduciary duties expected of an executor.
Manage your time wisely and prioritize responsibilities. Fulfilling your duties as executor may take months or even years. There will be varying deadlines for tasks like paying bills. Document the due dates of each bill you need to settle for the estate and have a clear picture of the timeline of events that will occur throughout the process.
Keep open lines of communication with beneficiaries. Consider establishing a schedule for in-person, video or telephone meetings to make sure everyone stays informed about the progression of events.
Follow the court’s instructions, as well as the decedent’s wishes, and you can successfully fulfill your executor duties.