Probate Lawyer Knoxville, TN
If you are the executor of someone’s estate, you will have to handle the probate process after the person’s death. During probate, you will be responsible for paying the deceased’s debts and making sure the remaining assets go to the proper heirs. It is a big responsibility that can be quite stressful. However, if you plan ahead, you can avoid making mistakes that will make the process more difficult.
Here are some common probate mistakes to avoid.
Waiting Too Long to Begin Probate
If the deceased was someone close to you, it is understandable that you may need time to grieve. However, that does not mean that you should wait too long to start the probate process. Your loved one’s creditors have to be paid and heirs want to receive their assets. If you procrastinate, others may get upset and be more difficult to work with.
Neglecting to Locate the Deceased’s Will in a Timely Manner
When you are the executor of an estate, one of the first things you have to do is find the deceased’s will. If the person did not tell you where the will is located, you may have to look through his or her estate planning documents to find it. You have to have the will to begin the probate process.
Not Securing Assets
As an executor, one of your primary responsibilities is to secure the estate assets. This can mean putting locks on the deceased person’s home and closing financial accounts. After all, you do not want the wrong person to get access to these assets.
Failing to Communicate with Heirs
The deceased’s heirs rightfully want to be informed during the entire probate process. That is why you should provide them with frequent updates about the estate. If you don’t, they may become suspicious and think that you are hiding something from them.
Distributing Assets Too Soon
While the deceased’s heirs may be anxious to receive their assets quickly, you should be careful not to do it too soon. Remember that creditors have to be paid before any heirs. If you do not distribute assets accordingly, you could be held liable.
Neglecting to Hire a Lawyer
Some executors think that they can handle the probate process on their own and do not retain a lawyer. However, the probate process can involve many complexities. It is wise to have an experienced probate lawyer on your side. He or she can guide you through the process and keep you from making costly mistakes.
Failing to Give Required Notices
As the executor of an estate, you also have a duty to notify creditors about probate. This will give them a chance to file a claim for what they are owed. If you do not do this in a timely manner, it could delay the probate process.