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That key probate executor function: watch for these errors

We've all heard adages like this before: You wouldn't hire a plumber to perform surgery, so why would you … ?

For purposes of today's blog post, we would simply pose this query: Why would a planner name a lay person with little or no professional experience as executor for an estate that is complex in size and scope?

We touched upon that question and related subject matter in a recent blog post. We noted in our October 12 entry that friends and relatives are often asked to be estate executors, and just as often challenged materially by that role.

And we duly cited a media source stressing the importance of having close input from an estate planning professional to help an executor skirt errors "that can put things awry and additionally spur personal liability."

Those mistakes can occur despite the best of intentions. When they do arise, says one planning commentator, they "expose the estate to litigation, increased tax liability and other potentially serious consequences."

That contributor to a recent Forbes article says that the following executor-linked errors are both typical but also avoidable when professional legal help is enlisted:

  • Estate distributions made by an executor before that individual fully deals with all estate liabilities and taxes owed
  • Failure to publicly notify all potentially interested parties (probate is central to this requirement and process)
  • Failure to responsibly manage estate assets and securities while the estate is being settled and prior to its closing

"[W]orking with a high-caliber professional … can avoid potentially costly and problematic issues," says the aforementioned commentator.

A proven estate administration attorney with an integrated background as a tax expert can be a strong ally for an executor seeking to carry out estate duties in a trouble-free and exemplary fashion.

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