Brown Borkowski & Morrow


Photo of Brown Borkowski & Morrow legal team

3 common mistakes executors make

The loss of a loved one can be a devastating emotional time for the surviving heirs. For an individual identified as the executor, however, emotional turmoil can quickly turn into financial turbulence and family strife. Even for the well-intentioned, it can be challenging to avoid common mistakes that plague the process.

Since every situation is unique, an executor’s job can become challenging for numerous reasons. There are several tips that can encourage a smooth, efficient process, though, including:

  • Failing to follow the court’s instructions: There are often rigid, detailed instructions and timelines that an executor must follow to maintain compliance with the court’s instructions. Many individuals attempt to take these matters into their own hands, believing they know a better way to proceed. While the court’s instructions might not make sense at first, they are in place for a specific reason. Failing to follow these instructions can have a detrimental impact on the efficiency of the process.
  • Failing to maintain regular communication with beneficiaries: An executor performs work on behalf of the beneficiaries. While there is generally a lengthy checklist of responsibilities the court encourages the executor to make regular contact with the beneficiaries. This is done to keep everyone updated on progress as well as apprised of any challenges along the way.
  • Failing to ask for help: It is not uncommon for executor responsibilities to quickly become overwhelming. While many people will fight to understand the process and achieve success, it is wise to recognize a problem and ask for guidance. Unfortunately, failing to ask for help when the situation is tenuous can ultimately make matters much worse.

When developing a comprehensive estate plan, an individual identifies an executor as someone they trust to handle complex processes. While this trust is not often misplaced, the role of an executor is often more complicated than it at first seemed. It is important to avoid common mistakes and seek guidance as soon as it is necessary.