What Problems Can an Executor Face?

Keep reading, and you'll learn how to avoid common pitfalls that can cause problems later on.

Posted on November 8, 2021 by Alex Gauthier
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If someone you were close with, such as a relative or a family friend, passed and named you the executor of their estate, you’ll be dealing with grief amidst many administrative and legal tasks, the majority of which you’re probably facing for the first time.

Being an executor can be a tough job, but it's essential to ensure that everything goes smoothly for your loved ones. This guide will help you through the process and answer any questions you might have along the way. It covers all aspects of being an executor, including dealing with the beneficiaries, will, and probate court.

So what challenges can executors face? Keep reading, and you'll learn how to avoid common pitfalls that can cause problems later on.

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Probate Court Delays

In Arizona, probate can take anywhere between six months to a year. Depending on the size of the estate, whether the will is contested, and whether all beneficiaries can be located, the probate process may eat up a lot of an executor’s time and rack up fees in the meantime.

Problems With Beneficiaries

If a beneficiary should try to contest the will, an executor could be facing months of delay and legal fees. Similarly, if a beneficiary loses trust in the executor and demands they be removed, the settlement process can become significantly delayed.

Conflicts of Interest

A major requirement for estate executors is that they act in the estate’s best interest. If you find yourself having a conflict of interest, it might be time for another executor to take over. A conflict of interest can include being a co-signer on a loan with the deceased, or purchasing real estate from the estate under its market price.

Not Being Knowledgeable About the Estate

This problem might seem obvious, but if you were not close to the deceased, they may not have shared all of their financial information with you. If this happens and there's no will—or you don’t know the location of a lot of important papers and assets—getting through probate court can take a lot longer.

Strategies to Solve These Problems

Clear Communication With Beneficiaries

Being open with beneficiaries and checking in with them as much as you can will lend transparency and solidify trust. Tell them if you’re encountering obstacles such as a delay in selling property or other estate assets. Explain the next steps you’ll be taking. Beneficiaries will appreciate you letting them in on the process and keeping them informed. Ensure that all beneficiaries know when they can expect their inheritance and what it consists of.

Using Tools such as ClearEstate's beneficiary portal

ClearEstate's beneficiary portal can make it much easier for everyone involved to stay in the loop and on track with what is going on. You can ensure that all beneficiaries are able to view the progress of the settlement, receive a summary of what assets they’re entitled to, and keep detailed records of all communications. Building trust and maintaining transparency is key for a smooth process.