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3 estate administration mistakes to watch out for as executor

Acting as the executor of a recently deceased individual's estate can have many challenges. Though you may feel honored that your loved one trusted you to take on such an important role, you may wonder whether you feel truly up to the task. This feeling is not unwarranted as you must attend to numerous obligations as the estate moves through the probate process.

If you have limited knowledge on what to expect when working to settle your loved one's estate, you may fear making mistakes during the process. Unfortunately, this potential does exist, and you could find yourself on the hook for addressing any issues that may come about. Therefore, you may wish to watch out for these estate administration mistakes.

Early asset distribution

As executor, one of your main roles relates to ensuring that the necessary parties receive the assets bequeathed to them by the deceased. However, you cannot simply begin handing out property immediately after your family member's death. You will need to follow several steps to ensure that certain aspects of the probate process are addressed before distribution can take place.

If you distribute assets too early, and taxes and debts relating to the estate have gone unaddressed, you could potentially end up holding liability for those outstanding financial issues. Rather than paying for those obligations from the estate, you could end up having to use personal funds.

Failure to properly notify the public

Typically, when it comes time for an estate to go through the probate process, the executor needs to make a public notice. This notice announces that you will act as executor of the estate, when probate proceedings will begin and how long creditors have to make claims against the estate. If you do not create this notice, you could risk having creditors making claims later, and you could hold responsibility for those claims.

Failure to close the estate

Just as the probate process must formally begin, you will also need to formally close the estate when you have completed all the necessary actions. Typically, closing the estate requires filing the proper paperwork with the court and gaining necessary approval that you have properly carried out your duties as executor.

Because estate administration proceedings can have their complications, it is understandable to feel overwhelmed. However, you do not have to go through this process alone, and enlisting the assistance of a California attorney could help you better understand your obligations.

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