Though the passing of your loved one has likely had a considerable impact on your life, you may still feel his or her presence for some time. In fact, as the executor of the estate, you may need to act directly on behalf of the decedent in order to ensure that his or her final wishes are carried out properly. Though this task can prove trying, you may feel that it could bring you a greater sense of emotional closure as you go through the process of closing the estate.
Estate administration can have its challenges. Hopefully, your family member discussed the idea of your being executor before his or her passing and you felt keen to take on the position. As a result, you may have already taken some measures to prepare for the duties you will need to carry out. However, keeping common administration mistakes in mind may help you avoid unnecessary complications.
Advertising the estate
Though you may wish to keep much of your deceased loved one's affairs private out of a sense of loyalty or propriety, you must announce the opening of the probate process for the estate. Additionally, you must inform known creditors of the death as well as other lenders or account holders, such as banks. The notice of probate allows other individuals to come forward with claims against the estate. If you do not advertise properly, claims could come in later for which the court may hold you financially responsible.
Jumping the gun with distribution
Ensuring that you distribute the individual's remaining assets also falls under your responsibility. Though your loved one may have made specific bequests in his or her will, you may want to hold off on handing out those assets. As mentioned, creditors have the ability to lay claims against the estate, and you must ensure that you address those claims. In some cases, if there are not enough available stand-alone funds, you may need to take estate funds otherwise earmarked for distribution.
It is not uncommon for estate values and funds to change over the years, and the information provided in a will may not exactly coincide with the present information. Therefore, it is not unusual for beneficiaries to receive less than specifically intended. However, if you provide the beneficiaries with the specified funds or assets before handling creditors, you may end up having to use personal funds to take care of claims.
Though some actions may seem innocent enough, they could have a ripple effect that affects various areas of estate administration. Therefore, you may wish to ensure that you have the right information and follow the proper steps for administering your loved one's estate. Utilizing local Louisiana legal resources may help you better understand your duties as executor.