Choice 1: Spending estate funds on personal expenses.
Your role as an executor or personal representative requires you to properly manage all estate property as a fiduciary, meaning you cannot simply use your position to benefit yourself or use estate funds for your own purposes. Even borrowing estate property with the intent to return it later is not allowed, and you can run into serious legal trouble if you decide to use your position inappropriately.
Choice 2: Not hiring a probate attorney.
Your role as executor or personal representative requires you to comply with very specific laws and probate rules. While these laws are not difficult to comply with, it is difficult to know what your responsibilities are if you’re not familiar with the probate process. If you make a mistake the court will not give you much leeway, and you’ll be held to the same standard as everyone else even if you’re not a lawyer. In other words, you need a probate lawyer who can advise you on what to do and when to do it.
Choice 3: Choosing to serve without considering it carefully.
You’re never required to serve as an executor or personal representative. If someone asks you to serve, or you’ve been named without prior consent, you should always think about accepting the appointment carefully. Serving as executor requires time and imposes specific responsibilities on you. If you don’t wish to serve, notify the person asking you. If the person who nominated you is already deceased, you can tell the probate court that you decline the appointment and it will select someone else.
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