Administering an estate is a challenging task that requires months of meticulous work, documentation, and examination to ensure a smooth and efficient process without errors. However, despite being cautious, mistakes can happen. It is essential to identify common errors to ensure a successful probate procedure. Consulting with a Hawaii estate planning lawyer can provide relevant information on how to avoid such mistakes. Experienced attorneys’ websites can also offer valuable insights. Below are some of the most frequent mistakes made by administrators during probate:
Distributing Assets Before Settling Debts:
One of the most common mistakes made during probate is distributing assets before dealing with outstanding debts. It is essential to ensure that the deceased individual had all their affairs in legal order before their passing. If this is not the case, the process may require dependent estate administration, which involves the court’s intervention to resolve any conflicts arising from outstanding debts.
If the executor distributes the assets without considering the payment of debts, and there are no assets remaining to cover future debts and taxes, the executor may be held liable. It is crucial to prioritize settling outstanding debts before distributing assets to avoid any legal consequences. If you need guidance on probate procedures, seeking advice from an experienced attorney can be helpful.
Neglecting to Maintain Accurate Records:
Properly documenting all transactions, distributions, and debt payments is crucial in avoiding potential issues in the future. In the event that a beneficiary claims they did not receive a specific item or asset, the executor may encounter difficulties if they do not have accurate records. Maintaining up-to-date and meticulous records is highly recommended.
Assuming Assets Or Terms:
One of the frequent mistakes committed by executors is assuming assets or terms without seeking proper guidance and advice. It is essential to consult with a qualified attorney or the attorney who assisted in the will drafting process for valuable legal advice. Assigning a random value to assets without proper assessment might have serious consequences for the executor.
Acting Based on Emotions:
Allowing emotions to influence decisions during the asset distribution process can result in significant complications. The executor’s duty is to strictly adhere to the instructions left by the deceased without any prejudice. Any deviation from this may have adverse effects on the executor.
While the aforementioned mistakes are commonly made, there may be other less obvious errors that an administrator might overlook, leading to future complications. Seeking the guidance of an attorney can help avoid such issues.