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5 common probate pitfalls to avoid

On Behalf of | Mar 18, 2024 | Estate Administration And Probate |

Facing the complexities of probate can be daunting, especially when learning about the process’s potential setbacks. Understanding common pitfalls is crucial to ensure a smooth process. Here are five common probate errors to avoid:

Failure to file will in a timely manner

When an individual passes away, the executor in their will, if any, must file the will with the local probate court. Failing to do so, or not doing so in a timely manner, can lead to complications, including legal challenges and delays in the estate’s distribution.

Failure to notify creditors

The probate process requires the estate’s personal representative to notify creditors so that they can make claims on the estate for any debts owed. If creditors are not properly notified, they may come forward at a later time, which can complicate and prolong the probate process.

Inadequate record keeping and accounting

Executors and administrators of an estate are responsible for keeping detailed records of all transactions and dealings with estate assets. Poor record-keeping can lead to disputes among beneficiaries, mismanagement claims or even legal action against the executor.

Non-transparency with heirs and beneficiaries

Keeping beneficiaries informed can help manage their expectations and prevent disputes. Lack of communication or refusal to provide information can lead to mistrust, contesting of the will or legal actions against the estate’s personal representative.

Attempts to DIY probate

Attempting to navigate the probate process without understanding its legal and financial aspects can result in costly mistakes. It is usually advisable to consult with a probate professional to avoid errors and omissions.

Finding the right path through probate

Probate is a complex system which can bring about avoidable issues and unnecessary stress upon the parties involved. Moreover, the process can be additionally complicated with the unique circumstances surrounding an estate. Nonetheless, navigating the probate process can be easier with proper research and experienced guidance.