Common Errors That Can Complicate The Probate Process
If you have been named the executor of a loved one's estate, you have a legal responsibility to wrap up his or her affairs, arrange for the payment of any income and estate taxes, and distribute the assets of the estate, all in accordance with both the will and the applicable laws.
All too often, in the process of carrying out these responsibilities, executors make mistakes that expose the estate to litigation, increased tax liability and other potentially serious consequences. At Spencer Law Firm LLC, our attorneys are committed to helping clients avoid these mistakes. In our experience, the 11 most common mistakes executors make are:
- Not hiring appropriate counsel at a reasonable, negotiated fee
- Confusing probate and nonprobate property
- Failing to give legally required notices
- Not appraising and paying tax on tangible personal property
- Not understanding and following the terms of the will
- Missing the three-month prepayment discount for Pennsylvania inheritance tax
- Improperly allocating income between the decedent's and estate's income tax returns
- Failing to choose an advantageous fiscal year for the estate
- Improperly allocating the tax burden among beneficiaries
- Not liquidating securities and holding them through a market downturn
- Making early distributions that expose you to personal liability
Ultimately, the best way to avoid these mistakes is to retain an experienced estate administration lawyer to guide you through the process of fulfilling your responsibilities as an executor. To schedule a consultation to discuss how our firm can assist you, please contact us at 717.207.7935 or by email. Based in Lancaster, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania.