Losing a loved one can be a highly emotional time for all involved, but the one person invested with more responsibility than most, and one that needs to keep a cool head, is the Executor of the deceased’s estate outlines Michael T Huguelet founder of the Law Office of Michael T Huguelet, PC, in Orland Park, IL. —
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An executor will carry a lot of power in managing and distributing an estate – but equally will have to deal with legal, financial and tax matters as part of the role, Huguelet added.
Huguelet went on to detail the common mistakes an executor should avoid when dealing with administering an estate.
Huguelet said “An executor’s failure to handle assets correctly was a common error he encountered.”
“Executors may be unsure as to what they need to do – but one of the first priorities is to secure all assets as soon as possible. This can range from tracking down financial assets to physically locking up or maintaining a decedent’s property.”
This can also include failing to categorize a decedent’s assets properly. Non-probate examples include trust estates, life insurance policies and retirement account funds, he added.
“Another consideration frequently overlooked is the need to get a Date of Death value of all of the decedent’s assets. This should be done as soon as possible as they will be easier to calculate. If real property is involved, a qualified real estate appraiser will be needed to help in the task.”
He suggested an executor’s inability to communicate with beneficiaries and creditors correctly and in a timely manner were among the most significant failings. Known creditors must receive notice of a pending estate administration, and the estate has to remain open for a statutory period to enable creditors time to file a claim in the estate.
“Equally, failing to keep beneficiaries abreast of developments can lead to unnecessary litigation.” In both cases, Huguelet advised executors to seek professional advice and retain the services of a probate attorney who can act as a guiding hand.
“Not hiring an probate attorney means the process might take longer than necessary, and an executor may make costly errors during the probate process.”
Failure to handle creditors’ claims, looking to distribute assets too quickly, calculating estate taxes correctly and neglecting to issue an inventory and/or an accounting in an estate are some of the errors made by executors Huguelet has also come across.
“Executors can also fail to look at alternatives to the formal probate administration. In Illinois, a small estate affidavit may be an option instead of formal probate, saving considerable cost and time in the process.”
Huguelet concluded: “Being an executor is no easy task, so working with an experienced probate attorney in the process can save them from committing unintentional mistakes, reducing the estate’s value, and further adding grief to what is already an emotional time for everyone.”
Name: Michael T. Huguelet
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Organization: Law Office of Michael T. Huguelet, PC
Address: 10723 W. 159th St. Orland Park, IL 60467
Phone: (708) 852-0733
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Release ID: 89010966