After the loss of a loved one, the last thing anyone wants to worry about is whether the executor of the estate is handling their duties properly. An executor is responsible for managing the estate according to the wishes of the deceased, as outlined in their will. This role involves a high level of trust and responsibility. Unfortunately, there are instances where an executor may not carry out their duties effectively or, in worse cases, may even mishandle the estate.
Knowing the signs of mishandling can help beneficiaries ensure that the estate administration is proceeding as it should. It is important to be vigilant and to understand what constitutes proper handling of an estate.
Lack of communication
One of the first signs of potential mishandling is a lack of communication from the executor. Executors should keep beneficiaries informed about the estate’s progress and any significant decisions. If the executor is not providing updates or is evasive when asked for information, this could be a cause for concern.
Delay in estate administration
Roughly 80% of estates get settled within 18 months. While the time it takes to settle an estate can vary due to a multitude of reasons, unnecessary delays are often a red flag. If there seems to be little progress or if the executor cannot provide reasonable explanations for delays, it may indicate mishandling.
Unexplained expenses or losses
Beneficiaries should receive a detailed accounting of the estate’s finances. If the executor cannot explain certain expenses or losses, this might suggest mishandling of estate funds.
Favoritism or self-dealing
An executor should manage the estate impartially and in the best interests of all beneficiaries. If it appears the executor is favoring certain beneficiaries or is using estate assets for personal gain, this is a serious concern.
Being aware of these signs is important for beneficiaries. If there are concerns about how an executor is handling an estate, beneficiaries should take steps to address the situation. This might include asking for more detailed information, requesting a meeting to discuss the estate or seeking mediation to resolve disputes. It is important to ensure that the executor is managing the estate fairly and according to the wishes of the deceased.