Actions You Don’t Want to Take When You’re Executor
Action 1: Have A Party With Estate Funds.
If you’ve been named the executor (or personal representative) of an estate, you may suddenly realize that you now have personal control over a lot of money and property. Do everything you can to spend the money freely, without any thought of what the law allows you to do. Have a party, buy a new car, give gifts to your friends. Anything you do with the estate funds that isn’t specifically allowed by the law or detailed by the decedent’s will or other estate plan directions is the best way to ensure you get free room courtesy of the state.
Action 2: Ignore The Judge.
The probate court is just an unnecessary inconvenience that you can ignore at your leisure. The judge doesn’t know anything and court orders are helpful reminders that you don’t have to pay attention to. Also, it’s best to treat the court clerk rudely, interrupt the judge whenever possible, and always be late for meetings or hearings.
Action 3: Be Your Own Lawyer.
You don’t need a lawyer if you’re an executor. All you need to do is do a quick internet search, listen to someone who watched a movie once, or make it up as you go along. A qualified and experienced probate attorney who knows the probate court rules and procedures and can quickly tell you what you need to do will be of absolutely no use to you as you wade your way through the labyrinthine world of probate law.
Conclusion: Taking any of the above actions will surely result in the following: Lawsuits against you by the intended beneficiaries of the estate, sanctions by the court for violating courts orders that include your removal as executor, repayment of all funds taken, and possible monetary fines over the amounts taken, and arrest and conviction for various criminal violations of law which could result in fines and imprisonment.
The obvious moral of this story is that serving as an executor imposes upon that person numerous duties to act diligently and with integrity. In other words, you must perform your duties as a fiduciary.
The complex world of legal proceedings generally means that the prudent executor retain expert legal help to assist, the cost of which is paid by the decedent’s estate, not personally from the executor’s own funds. Following these latter rules will keep you out of trouble and allow for the efficient and proper administration of the estate.