Estates are often at risk of facing conflict from surviving family members or other parties associated with the estate. Unfortunately, some probate cases may be more predisposed to fights, simply because of the family dynamic. Of course, problems could also come about if you make mistakes while acting as executor of the estate.
Because the probate process is long and complex, a considerable amount of room exists for errors. Even if you think you are taking action to help the estate, your good intentions could cause more harm than good. If a mistake is serious enough, you may wind up having to deal with probate litigation.
Watch out for these mistakes
When thrusted into the world of your loved one’s estate, you may think that you need to take care of his or her remaining tasks as they come to you. As a result, when a bill comes in the mail, you may think you need to pay it immediately. However, that is not likely the case. When it comes to your loved one’s debts, you must pay creditors in order of priority. If you do not, you could face lawsuits from creditors and have to pay them yourself.
Another mistake that could easily occur relates to improperly handling real estate. Remaining real estate can prove particularly tricky to address, as a loved one could still live in the home or conflicts could arise over when the property should go on the market. Still, you will have the responsibility of making important decisions regarding when and for how much to sell the property.
Losing assets is another major issue that could immensely affect probate proceedings. You have a duty to keep all assets safe until distributed in accordance with your loved one’s wishes or state law. Because other family members may come and go from the decedent’s home as they pay their respects, it is possible for some people to walk away with property not intended for them. If this happens, you could face serious consequences.
Dealing with lawsuits
As executor, you will also have the duty of addressing any lawsuits that come against the estate. Often, probate litigation can be immensely complex, and you may not know what to do, especially if you do not have working legal knowledge of such scenarios. Luckily, you can enlist professional help from a California attorney who can help you avoid mistakes and also deal with any litigation that may take place.