When you become the executor over someone else's estate, you automatically assume a high level of responsibility, and failing to uphold your end of the deal can lead to considerable hardship and expense. Because so many people who take on the executor role are doing so for the first time, it can be easy to make errors, and many such errors arise because of a lack of knowledge about the process rather than malicious intent.
Therefore, recognizing where others commonly make mistakes with regard to the executor role can help you avoid making similar ones yourself. So, when you take on the executor role, make sure that you do the following:
Adequately advertise the estate
The purpose of advertising the estate is to give creditors and others with a possible claim to it a chance to come forward, and there are certain state-specific channels you must follow when doing so. Failing to advertise the estate can lead to considerable trouble, so find out what advertising rules are in place in your area and make sure to follow them closely.
Pay taxes and other expenditures before making distributions
You can also wind up in trouble in your executor role if you make distributions to beneficiaries before you take care of estate taxes and other liabilities. If you do make what are known as "at-risk distributions" and then find that you do not have enough left over for taxes and the like, you personally assume the responsibility of making up the difference.
Properly close the estate
You also need to conclude the estate as part of your executor role, and you can do so through several different methods. You can, for example, file a settlement agreement where all beneficiaries assert they received their distributions. Conversely, you can go through the court system and have a judge sign off on your distributions as an alternative way to conclude an estate.
The executor role is an important one, and the more you know about the process, the less likely you will be to make mistakes that could come back to bite you.