The administration of a deceased person’s estate is managed by the personal representative of the estate. There are a wide range of different responsibilities and rules placed on a personal representative in connection to this management. So, there can be a lot of different potential areas for impactful mistakes by such an individual.
A recent Wall Street Journal article went over some of the big mistakes that personal representatives could potentially fall into during the estate administration process. Among the mistakes it noted were:
- Failing to take proper steps to identify and protect the tangible assets of the estate.
- Engaging in investing mishaps that cause the estate to lose value.
- Not dealing with real estate in the estate correctly.
- Paying the estate’s debts in the wrong order. There is an order of priority when it comes to such debts.
Such mistakes could result in the estate administration process going a lot longer and rockier than it had to and be harmful to the estate. This could expose a deceased person’s loved ones and family members to unnecessary hardships and difficulties. So, who is an estate’s personal representative and how mistake-prone they are can be incredibly impactful. This is among the reasons why a person may want to specify who will be their estate’s personal representative in their estate plan and to think carefully when deciding who to pick for this very important role.
Mistakes like the ones mentioned above can also be quite harmful to the personal representative. They could expose the representative to things like personal liability and legal claims of breach of fiduciary duty. So, for both the estate’s sake and their own, avoiding errors like the ones mentioned above can be very important for a personal representative. Skilled estate administration attorneys can advise personal representatives on their duties and what they can do to avoid errors during their efforts to fulfill these duties.