Executor’s responsibilities for communicating with beneficiaries

On Behalf of | Sep 12, 2017 | Blog |

If anyone ever asks you to be the executor of his or her estate in the DuBois area, it helps if you have a good understanding of the responsibilities that come with the position. It may seem like an honor to be an estate executor of a loved one’s estate. But if you are not good with managing your time, responsibilities, finances and other important responsibilities in your life, then you may want to opt out. 

If you feel you are a good fit for the role, take some time to learn what your obligations are for communicating with the beneficiaries to prevent conflicts, ill feelings and issues with administrating the estate. 

Know what to disclose 

Communication between executors and beneficiaries is important. You should try to be as transparent as possible without revealing information that can lead to problems. You will also need to exercise a lot of discretion when it comes to discussing certain details about the estate until it has been completely settled. 

You may encounter some beneficiaries wanting to know the exact value of all assets, who is inheriting what and other private details concerning what their deceased relative has left behind. However, you should keep in mind that beneficiaries do not need to know every single detail regarding the estate they are to inherit from. Any information you provide them with should be on a need-to-know basis. 

Information that is okay for you to share with beneficiaries include: 

  •        Contacting the right parties to complete paperwork
  •        Collecting and updating beneficiary contact information
  •        Informing involved parties on how to contact you
  •        Notifying beneficiaries about the exact details regarding their inheritances
  •        Telling all recipients where you are in the administration process
  •        Informing them about estate debts you are settling 

The more information you share regarding an estate, the more you risk complications and delays from disagreements that may arise. To make things easier, you may want to provide the beneficiaries with a written timeline of what they can expect to happen and what your duties are. You should also provide them with timely updates. Be sure to make yourself available for their questions and concerns. 

Use common sense 

You may encounter situations where some beneficiaries ask you about how others feel about their inheritances, to pick sides or help with settling any disputes. You should remain as impartial and professional as possible. If you become involved and share information that could potentially lead to more conflict between family members, it could make it harder for you to honor all your executor duties. 

Emotions tend to run high when someone dies. Because there are issues that may cause delays, keep the beneficiaries in the loop so they understand you are not wasting their time and doing nothing.

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