Family members in Florida often fight over the privilege of becoming the person in charge of estate administration. However, few people really understand the work that comes with executing the responsibilities that accompany this role or that of an executor.
The administrator or executor of an estate has the legal obligation to tie up any loose ends related to the deceased person’s affairs, all while abiding by state laws. In the case of the executor, they must also act in accordance with the will, which may not always be in accordance with state laws.
Premature distribution of assets
Forbes identifies one of the biggest mistakes that people make is distributing assets too early. If they do this before any applicable taxes are paid, they may be personally liable for these taxes. Perhaps for these reasons premature distribution is often called “at risk distributions.”
Failure to advertise
Another mistake that people may make is failing to properly advertise the estate and the executor or administrator’s appointment. This is necessary so that creditors may make claims on the estate before distributions are made. Otherwise, creditors may attempt to go after the people who inherited the assets. Whether or not they can go through with this and how long they can pursue the case may depend on state laws.
Lack of education
Finally, people may fail to properly educate themselves about probate and estate administration overall. FindLaw notes that there are some important concepts a person should know to better prepare themselves for the responsibilities ahead:
- Testator: This is the legal term for the deceased if they wrote a will.
- Intestate: This is the legal term for the deceased if they died without a will.
- Estate Taxes: These are taxes paid to the government after property is inherited.
- Administrator Versus Executor: The administrator is appointed if there is no will, while if there is a will it names an executor.
When mourning the loss of a loved one, it can be difficult to focus on the legal, financial and technical aspects of wrapping up a person’s affairs. Handling family feuds and fielding calls from creditors may also prove difficult. For this reason, many people spare their family members the hassle of wrapping up their affairs by passing the task to professionals who do this for a living.