When your loved one or close confidante entrusts you with taking care of his or her affairs after passing on, you have a serious responsibility on your hands that requires careful consideration and attention to detail. Taking on the role of executor over someone’s estate means that you agree to handle certain critical tasks, and making mistakes in your role as executor can have major consequences.
Because so many executors make similar errors, recognizing some common executor mistakes can help you avoid making them yourself. So, what types of errors are today’s executors making?
1. Not appropriately advertising the estate
Florida has clear, set guidelines that determine how you must advertise an estate, and failing to follow them can land you in serious hot water. Why? Creditors to whom the deceased owes money have a right to try to claim it once the person passes on, and the only way they can do so is if they are aware of the person’s passing in the first place.
2. Making premature distributions to beneficiaries
Another common executor error that can potentially land you in trouble involves making distributions to named beneficiaries prematurely. When making distributions from an estate, you must consider estate taxes and related expenditures, and if you make distributions too early, you may not have enough left over to cover these expenses. If you do not have enough left in the estate to cover taxes and the like, you, personally, become responsible for making up the difference.
3. Failing to properly wrap everything up
Once you have made all beneficiary distributions, paid necessary estate taxes and so on, you must formally close the estate. There are several methods through which you can do so. In one scenario, you can have a judge sign off on your distributions, which will effectively conclude the estate, and in another, you can file a family settlement agreement in court that attests that all beneficiaries received their distributions.
Estate administration can prove complicated, and this is especially true if it is your first time assuming the role of executor. Avoiding these common errors can simplify the process and lessen the risk of you making a potentially serious mistake.