When a person is estate planning in Wheat Ridge, Golden and Jefferson County, they are tasked with choosing a personal representative or estate executor to handle the estate. A personal representative must always act in the best interest of the estate. Some of the duties involved with being an estate executor include:
- Inventorying assets
- Filing the probate case
- Managing assets while the estate is in probate
- Paying the estate's bills and debts
- Distributing assets
While being chosen as a personal representative is an honor, it is also a huge responsibility and one that could leave you vulnerable if you do not follow the proper procedures. Let's take a look at the potential liabilities related to being an estate executor.
Potential Liabilities for Estate Executor in Arvada
As an estate executor or personal representative, you may be held liable for any losses or gains the estate made, even if you did not realize they had occurred. Grounds for claiming this type of issue often result from allegations that:
- You did not exercise reasonable care and skill in managing the estate;
- You acted negligently or intentionally when mishandling the estate - some examples of this include stealing money from the estate or not following the will; or
- You acted intentionally or negligently when you failed to do something, like not inventory the assets, not address the probate case timely or not pay off all debts;
If the estate suffers a loss or a gain and you don't realize it or fail to properly account for it, you can be liable to the beneficiaries.
Protecting Yourself from Liability as a Personal Representative in Jefferson County
Now, sometimes there are personal representatives who take advantage of their role and embezzle from the estate, but for the most part, those tasked with being a personal representative take the job seriously. Often, any issues that arise are due to oversight or simply inexperience with the system. If you are chosen as a personal representative to an estate, consulting with an experienced probate and estate attorney is a smart move. Relying on an expert who understands everything that goes into being an estate executor will give you the peace of mind that you are doing things right and not going to accidentally make a mistake that could cost you big time.