When acting as the executor of an estate, you will have many duties to which to attend. In some cases, probate proceedings can move forward relatively easily, but you should also prepare yourself for potential complications. If your loved one had a complex estate with many beneficiaries, it can take time to ensure that you have properly completed every aspect of the process.
In addition to the complexities of the estate itself, you may also have to deal with disputes. Conflict during probate is not uncommon, and disgruntled individuals could give cause for opening estate litigation. As a result, you may need to prepare for court. Of course, resolving these issues can take time and money, and you may wonder how to pay for needed expenses.
As the executor, you likely have access to estate funds. However, your use of these funds must remain dignified in relation to the estate, meaning you cannot use these funds for personal gain or for unseemly purposes. Fortunately, when it comes to expenses directly related to probate, you often do not have to pay out of pocket in order to address costs. When it comes to addressing litigation expenses, the details of the case could impact whether you could use estate funds.
A common point of contention during probate relates to challenging a will. Because the will may hold a great deal of information and instruction on how to distribute assets, it is not unusual for some parties to feel the need to contest the contents of the document. They may do so for various reasons, but if probate litigation takes place in order to address challenges to the contents of a will, its validity, property distribution or other aspects, you may use estate funds to cover the costs of this litigation.
Instances do exist in which you may not have the ability to use estate funds to settle conflict. If the dispute revolves around non-probate assets, such as payable-on-death accounts or jointly owned property, you may not use estate funds during any necessary litigation. If you do use estate funds for unauthorized or unlawful purposes, it may be a requirement that you pay back the funds to the estate.
Probate and probate litigation can be complicated, and you certainly do not want to find yourself in an even more difficult position because you did not understand the proper uses of estate funds. Fortunately, you could lessen the likelihood of confusion by gaining more information on your role as executor from local Arizona legal resources.