Many estates go through probate after a loved one passes away. If the decedent created an estate plan, he or she likely appointed someone to take on the role of executor of the estate. This person will have the responsibility of settling the final affairs and closing the estate.
If your loved one appointed you to this position, you need to understand the role you will take on. A number of facets exist when it comes to acting as executor, and unfortunately, even a seemingly minor error on your part could cause significant consequences that could negatively impact the probate proceedings.
As the executor, you will have a fiduciary duty to the estate and its beneficiaries. This duty means that any decisions you make will need to have the best interests of the estate and the beneficiaries in mind. You may not have an easy time making those choices, and in some cases, even when you do your best, other individuals may not feel satisfied with your decisions.
If a beneficiary or other party believes that you have breached your fiduciary duty by not following the decedent's instructions or by making decisions for personal gain, you could face litigation.
As mentioned, any mistakes made during the process could have dire results. Understandably, you may worry about errors because you likely do not have a working knowledge of the Arizona laws and other aspects of completing probate. However, double-checking any decisions you make and ensuring that you follow the proper steps at the right time could help you avoid mistakes.
It is also wise to ask for help when needed. Rather than try to work through a complex financial or legal matter on your own, you may want to consult with professionals in these areas who can offer insight and advice. If you do not ask for help, you run the risk of putting the probate process in jeopardy.
Completing the probate process takes a lot of hard work. Therefore, you need to feel ready to delve into these proceedings and willing to do what is necessary to complete the process successfully. You may face a great deal of contention from others while you have the power of executor, and often, you will not receive thanks for your part. Still, if you agree to the role, you do not need to let such factors prevent you from working efficiently.