Probate, the legal process of administering an individual’s estate after their death, is a daunting and complex journey. Many individuals, however, make mistakes that can complicate matters further.
There are four common missteps that people often make during probate.
1. Neglecting documentation
One mistake is the failure to get complete and accurate documentation. Executors must ensure that all relevant paperwork, including the deceased’s will, financial statements and property deeds, is at hand.
Overlooking an important document can lead to delays, disputes and unnecessary stress for beneficiaries. With almost 1 out of 5 American adults stating that their mental health was worse in 2020 than in 2019, life events like a death in the family or a long period of probate can contribute to this feeling.
2. Ignoring debts and liabilities
Often, individuals underestimate the importance of addressing the deceased’s debts and liabilities. Failing to settle outstanding financial obligations can lead to issues in giving out assets to beneficiaries. Executors should assess and settle any debts before moving forward with the distribution of the estate, preventing challenges down the road.
3. Disregarding timelines
Probate comes with its fair share of timelines and formalities. Missing important deadlines or neglecting important formalities can result in legal setbacks. Executors must stay informed about specific requirements, ensuring a smooth and timely administration of the estate.
4. Overlooking communication with beneficiaries
Communication plays a huge role in probate, yet many people underestimate its significance. Executors need to keep beneficiaries informed about the progress of the probate process, as well as address any concerns or questions as fast as possible. Failure to have open and easy communication can lead to confusion and resentment among beneficiaries.
With a proactive approach, individuals can navigate this time with peace of mind. Taking the time to sidestep these pitfalls will contribute to a faster and better resolution of the estate.