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How can will executors make mistakes?

| Jul 12, 2021 | Estate Litigation |

In the state of North Carolina, any friend or relative could nominate you to be the executor of their estate. This title may feel like an honor, but it also comes with a responsibility. Since most people have never executed an estate before, it’s easy to make mistakes if you don’t have an attorney present.

What are some common mistakes that executors make?

During estate litigation, some executors think they have absolute power over the estate. They might try to give themselves more assets or punish family members that they don’t like. This isn’t just unprofessional–it’s also illegal. As the executor, you still have to abide by the instructions stated in the will.

Others assume that their attorney will do everything. Your attorney could help you with the case, but you still have to take on certain responsibilities. If you don’t, you’ll stall the proceedings and might end up in legal trouble. You’ll also make it harder for beneficiaries to get their assets.

Similarly, don’t assume that you can do everything without an attorney. If you make a mistake, you might be held liable and have to deal with the legal fallout. In that case, you’ll probably have to hire an attorney anyway. You could save yourself a lot of trouble by talking to an attorney from the beginning.

Do you have to take on the responsibility of being an executor?

If you don’t want the responsibility, you don’t have to agree to be the executor. You’re not legally bound to take this position even if your relative mentioned you in their will. Someone needs to deal with the estate as possible, so if you’re not sure if you can handle it, you might want to talk to an attorney as soon as possible. Otherwise, you could face legal issues from stalling the process.