When someone first meets with their estate planning attorney to discuss drafting a will, one of the first things the lawyer asks their client is to identify someone that they can trust to serve as their executor. Estate planning attorneys often encourage their clients to be honest about the responsibilities that they’ll be expected to take on as an executor. There’s a good reason that attorneys ask their clients to do this. An executor may expose themselves to legal liability if they don’t do what they’re supposed to.
One of the more common mistakes that first-time executors make is neglecting to file the will with the probate court. It has to be marked “certified” by the clerk in the county in which the testator resided for the case to be placed on the court calendar.
It’s not good enough for you to say that you didn’t file the will with the court because you couldn’t locate it. You need to let the probate judge know all the steps that you took to find it, so they’ll know how to proceed.
A second misstep that can leave an executor in legal hot water is if they fail to inventory and preserve the estate’s assets or distribute them before they should. Doing any of these can result in an executor being sued in a personal capacity for the unaccounted for, devalued or improperly distributed assets.
Executors can also be held liable for not settling up with creditors or paying any applicable taxes. A personal representative must pay these expenses from the estate’s banking account. They mustn’t intermingle the funds contained here with their own. Executors may be forced to liquidate a testator’s tangible assets to pay back creditors or taxes if there are not enough funds in the bank account to do so.
Administering an estate isn’t easy. New and experienced executors alike may both need guidance in addressing some of the more complex situations that they are tasked with handling.
A Greenwich personal representative must do whatever is necessary to properly manage the estate per Connecticut law. An attorney can advise you of what type of legal action you can take against an executor if they mishandled the administration of your loved one’s estate.