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Executor mistakes can lead to wills and estates litigation

When British Columbia residents are asked to serve as executors by family or friends, they may want to think carefully before accepting. Even though they may feel honored that someone would trust them with something so important, it pays to better understand what will be expected of them before agreeing to serve in this capacity. The simple fact is that when an executor makes mistakes, it can lead to wills and estates litigation.

Something as simple as failing to fully read and understand the will could result in problems. An executor must follow the terms of the will even if he or she does not agree with them. This may mean some of the executor's actions may be unpopular, but serving in this capacity is not meant to be a popularity contest. The goal is to carry out the wishes of the deceased as outlined in the will.

Even so, certain actions must occur before any assets from the estate are distributed to beneficiaries. Missing one of these steps could also result in problems. For instance, if an executor fails to pay certain debts and/or taxes prior to making distributions, he or she could incur personal liability for them. Even when family heirs and beneficiaries put pressure on the executor to make distributions, he or she cannot give in to it until the time is right.

Executors could make other mistakes that lead to wills and estates litigation as well, but these tend to be two of the more common ones. Of course, even when an executor does everything right, beneficiaries and heirs may have issues with what the will says. Since the executor represents the estate, he or she will be involved in the will challenge process. The truth is that most executors here in British Columbia and elsewhere will need assistance in completing their tasks even under the best of circumstances as avoiding mistakes and properly representing the estate helps fulfill the decedent's wishes and goals.

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