When someone passes away, their estate goes through the legal process formally known as probate. During probate, the deceased’s assets pass on to beneficiaries according to their will or, in the absence of a will, according to state laws.
However, probate proceedings can sometimes lead to disputes among beneficiaries, which may ultimately result in costly litigation. In such situations, an executor plays a valuable role in helping to resolve these conflicts and ensure a smooth probate process.
The executor is responsible for managing the deceased’s assets and overseeing the distribution of the estate. Their primary duty is to keep beneficiaries informed about the progress of the probate proceedings. This clear communication helps to prevent misunderstandings and disputes.
Valuing assets fairly
Disputes often arise when beneficiaries feel that the value of certain assets is not represented accurately. The executor takes part in fairly assessing the value of all assets in the estate. This can include real estate, investments and personal belongings.
Sometimes, beneficiaries may have conflicting claims or disputes over specific assets or property. The executor can help mediate these disagreements by working with the parties involved and attempting to find equitable solutions. Impartiality is an important trait in these situations.
After the evaluation of assets and settlement of debts, the executor oversees the distribution of the estate’s remaining assets to the beneficiaries. Carrying out this process efficiently and fairly minimizes potential conflicts.
Data suggests that over 3 million cases go through probate every year. While not all of those cases result in disputes or litigation, it remains true that executors should be ready to step in and help resolve any conflicts.