Estate beneficiaries, heirs, and personal representatives must understand pronate or estate administration. In general, the administration process includes the appointment of a personal representative to supervise the estate, the collection, and inventory of the estate’s assets, debt, and final expense payment, as well as asset distribution to appropriate parties. However, probate estate administration can be complicated and emotional. And when issues or complications arise during the process, it can take even longer to be completed. The longer the process continues, the longer it takes for the beneficiaries and heirs to access their share of the estate. Also, a prolonged probate process can cost more in court administration and court fees. The following are situations that can complicate the probate process:
Failure of the Representative to Fulfill their Duties
An estate’s personal representative should execute their duties and responsibilities, putting the best interest of the estate over their own. If the decedent’s will does not name a personal representative, it can take time to look for the right person to serve. Also, the personal representative may not be able to carry out their duties promptly or make mistakes along the way, dragging out the probate or causing the estate significant financial damage. A personal representative who mishandles an estate does not comply with the instructions of the decedent, or fails to live up to their legal obligations can face penalties for breaching their fiduciary jury.
A Will or Trust is Contested or Disputed
Wills and trusts are common estate planning tools that can lead to litigation when contested or disputed. The validity of a will can be challenged by an heir, a spouse, a child, or a named devisee. The challenge can be based on the grounds of fraud, undue influence, improper execution, incapacity, or forgery. Also, disputes can arise when there are missing documents or conflicting wills. And if the decedent did not include a child or spouse in their will, contests can arise.
A Lot of Creditors File a Claim Against the Estate
Estate administration includes settling claims from creditors. A personal representative must properly notify creditors about the administration, pay valid claims, and inform creditors about disallowed claims. Also, the representative must file and pay taxes for the decedent and the estate.
The estate may stay open when the representative does not perform these duties. The personal representative may challenge unreasonable or illegitimate claims from creditors. Also, they can do this when some disputes with creditors still have to be resolved.