The MLO Minute: “Estate Administration is NOT a DIY Process” —
By Jessica Wilson, Esq. and Dennis McAndrews, Esq., Estates and Trusts Department of McAndrews, Mehalick, Connolly, Hulse and Ryan P.C. —
A significant portion of our estate administration work involves what we sometimes refer to as our “R & R cases” – “Repair and Rehabilitation” matters. These are estates where an executor or executrix has attempted the probate process without the assistance of experienced counsel to manage the technical activities involved. In the overwhelming majority of cases, the risks of a layperson attempting to manage this technical probate process almost always is outweighed by the financial and legal risks in doing so. These risks most notably include a financial surcharge against the personal assets of the executor/executrix for failing to properly and timely complete any of the multiple legal requirements of that position.
The following are just some of the major missteps we frequently see made in DIY (“Do It Yourself”) probate attempts:
- improper distributions;
- failure to provide proper documents to the court or beneficiaries;
- filing untimely or inaccurate tax returns;
- making incorrect or late government payments of various types;
- failure to notify creditors;
- mismanagement of real estate (a very common issue in DIY probate matters);
- failure to promptly liquidate stocks and other market-sensitive assets resulting in financial loss to the estate and therefore beneficiaries;
- inaccurately assessing the value of properties for accident distribution purposes; and
- failures to properly secure, protect, and distribute personal property.
Our estate administration team has handled hundreds of estate administration matters capably, efficiently, and in a cost-effective manner. Our work in managing estates in cooperation with the executor, executrix, or administrator serves to provide all such representatives and the estate beneficiaries with peace of mind and equitable treatment. If a loved one should pass away, or you are otherwise asked to participate in an estate administration, we would be privileged to work with you to help you manage the estate in a professional manner and to the legal skills and activities necessary to provide peace of mind to all concerned. Click here today to contact our firm and let us help you through these processes.