Why You Should Think Carefully Before Accepting to Be an Executor of a Will

Posted on: 23 August 2016

Some people may not think twice before accepting a request to become the executor of the last will and testament of a friend or family member. However, you need to consider several factors before you accept a request to make you an executor of a will. This article discusses some of those factors.

Do You Have Time?

Executing a will is a time-consuming process. For instance, you may have to notify a family court of your appointment as an executor. You are also expected to notify all concerned people and agencies, such as government agencies and family members about the death of the person who appointed you as the executor of his or her will. All those bureaucratic steps are usually conducted before you can start distributing the estate of the deceased to his or her beneficiaries. All this takes time. More time may also be spent attending court proceedings in case someone contests the will. Are you willing to devote all the time that is required to wind up a deceased person's estate?

Are You Willing to Be Held Liable?

Some disgruntled people, such as some beneficiaries of the estate, may sue you for the actions that you take in administering the estate of the deceased. For instance, you may be held criminally liable in case you accidentally file incorrect estate tax documents with the tax authorities. A family member may also sue you for negligence in case your actions result in a named beneficiary failing to receive his or her share because you didn't trace that person after the death of the estate's owner. Are you ready to face litigation arising from your role as an executor?

Do You Have the Right Skills?

Being an executor of a will may require you to have a combination of skills, such as conflict management skills and negotiation skills. This is because executors usually begin their work at an emotionally charged time when someone has just died. Consequently, you may have to deal with family members who are grieving and are unwilling to accept the terms of the will, such as getting a smaller share of the estate than they had expected. Can you handle the pressure of doing so many things at the same time?

It is usually an honour to be selected as the executor of someone's will. However, that role carries huge responsibilities and risks that you need to weigh before you take on that task. It is therefore advisable to talk to resources like Marino Law so that you can receive legal advice about how you should respond or protect yourself when you are performing your duties as an executor of a will.