Things nobody warned you about as an executor

Being the executor of someone’s estate feels like an honor, so you naturally accepted — but you had no idea about the trouble that you were about to face.

Most people have no idea what to expect when they’re serving as someone’s executor. They typically anticipate some paperwork and a few meetings with an attorney, but they generally assume that the whole process will go along rather orderly. They aren’t prepared for:

  • Co-executors: Sometimes, a decedent will name more than one executor. The goal is usually to avoid problems, such as when someone names their two adult children co-executors. Unfortunately, sharing the job can mean twice the work. Both people have to be in agreement on everything and sign off on every piece of paper, and that can drag out the process.
  • Unhappy heirs: When people stand to inherit a considerable sum or set of assets, they can get impatient. They may worry that something important will be lost or taken by someone else. They may also just object to how the estate is being handled or demand that you distribute the assets before you’re ready.
  • Personal liabilities: If something goes very wrong with an estate, did you know that you can be sued by the heirs? You can also incur personal liability for not handling the decedent’s taxes, assets or debts properly.

Serving as someone’s executor doesn’t have to be an ordeal, however. The time drain and the strain on your emotional resources can often be alleviated with the help of an experienced attorney. Find out more about how you can make the probate process easier to manage.