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Probate Mistakes Could Lead to Litigation

Nov. 23, 2018

Acting as the executor of an estate puts a great deal of responsibility on your shoulders. When your loved one asked you to take on this role, you may have accepted without thinking too much about the tasks you would need to handle. Now that the time has come to step into this role, you may wonder what is in store for you and the remaining estate.

As you begin the probate process, you may want to gain useful information about the duties you need to carry out. While you likely understand that your responsibilities revolve around completing tasks your loved one left behind, you need to make sure to take the right steps to complete those tasks. Otherwise, your mistakes could lead to probate litigation.

Common but Significant Mistakes

Because probate is a complicated legal process, mistakes are not unusual. Unfortunately, any mistake could derail the proceedings, and a domino effect of problems could result. Some of the common mistakes you may want to avoid include the following:

  • Not following creditor priority: After a loved one’s death, the executor has a duty of addressing outstanding creditors. However, you need to pay these creditors in order of priority, and if you pay minor creditors before more important ones, serious consequences could result.

  • Not protecting assets: As executor, you have a responsibility to gather and protect your loved one’s remaining assets. If someone takes an item or you cannot locate an item before it is distributed in accordance with the probate proceedings, you could face a backlash from beneficiaries.

  • Not addressing real estate correctly: Your loved one may have left behind a home or other real estate you will need to distribute. It is your duty to sell or otherwise handle the property as the will dictates.

These examples are only a few of the numerous mistakes that could take place during probate proceedings.

Avoiding Mistakes and Handling Litigation

You undoubtedly want to do your best to avoid any mistakes when it comes to closing your loved one’s estate. Fortunately, a New York attorney may help you in that endeavor. Additionally, if any claims against the estate take place and you must deal with probate litigation, your legal counsel can help you through the process by assisting you in determining the best courses of action for protecting the estate.