Create a paper trail to protect yourself when you’re an executor

Create a paper trail to protect yourself when you’re an executor

On Behalf of | May 4, 2020 | Probate And Estate Administration |

Being an executor is a very significant responsibility. You have an obligation to act in the best interest of the beneficiaries of the estate and to follow the instructions left behind by the deceased individual who named you as their executor. 

In the event that you fail to uphold your obligation to the estate or that the heirs believe you engaged in some kind of misconduct, you could wind up facing a challenge that could potentially result in legal or financial consequences. Carefully documenting the steps that you take on behalf of the estate is one way to protect yourself and prove that you performed your duty.

Keep records of every bill you pay and every asset you distribute

Documentation plays a major role in the process of estate administration. Typically, you will have to provide death certificates and evidence of your right to handle the account on behalf of the deceased. Once the company knows they have the right to interact with you, they will likely provide you with documentation showing that you have closed the necessary account or paid off balance as appropriate.

Proof that you have been in communication with or handling accounts with companies is only one obligation that you need to document. When you distribute assets, especially physical assets for which there is no paper trail, you should have the recipients sign a receipt. You can purchase basic receipts at office supply businesses. Alternately, that you could type up a list of the assets they received and have them sign that form before they leave with those assets. 

Provided that you can show where you distributed assets and when you did it, you will have the ability to defend yourself against claims that you acted for your own benefit or wasted assets from the estate.