Serving as executor is a demanding job, but it comes with certain benefits. You know that there will be adequate care taken while handling the estate of the deceased party. You can receive compensation from the estate for the services that you provide.
Still, someone else could potentially make claims against you and ask the probate courts to remove you from your role as executor. Even if no one else volunteered to serve as the executor, you could eventually face challenges from people who want control over the estate assets or who are unhappy with the estate plan.
There are several ways to protect yourself from challenges and defend against them if they do occur.
Make sure you understand your obligations
One of the easiest ways for others to challenge your role would be for them to demonstrate to the courts that you have failed to fulfill your duties or have not complied with the instructions in the estate plan.
Learning about your obligations as an executor in general and reviewing the estate plan carefully so that you follow the instructions properly can reduce the likelihood of people challenging you based on the actions you take or how you handle the estate.
Keep detailed records
You need to keep records of every use of estate assets, even if you use them for the repayment of debts or to pay off and close utility accounts. You can set yourself up for success even before the testator passes away by creating an accurate inventory of assets with their help prior to their death.
Being able to account for every penny that you spend from the estate and every asset that you distribute or liquidate will make it much harder for others to claim that you have attempted to abuse your position for personal financial gain. You can also show how you have complied with the terms of the estate plan and your obligations, such as the filing of a final tax return and the repayment of creditors.
Have your own representation
The estate will usually cover the costs of an attorney to advise the executor and help them with the probate process. The more valuable the assets in the estate and the more complex the estate plan itself, the more likely it is that you will need help in fulfilling your duties.
Learning about the estate administration process can help you fulfill your role and avoid frustrating challenges by estate beneficiaries.