One of the most important aspects of serving as an executor or personal representative is the duty of loyalty. There is a high level of trust associated with someone serving as a fiduciary and the more that you can do on your own estate plan to make them feel comfortable about this role but also clear about this level of responsibility, the easier it will be for them to step into this position in the future.
You might educate them about the specific liability rules in your state and give them action steps to make them feel more comfortable of serving in this position. Here are some dos for limiting executor liability:
- Keep accurate and clear records
- Inform beneficiaries about the amount and nature of their interest in the trust or estate
- Keep control of all trust or estate property
- Segregate trust and estate property from any other property
- Exercise reasonable skill and care to make trust property productive, such as making it income generating
- Supervise the activities of all agents
When someone is not familiar with what it takes to serve as a personal representative or an executor, they can find themselves in over their head. They might even need to hire an experienced probate administration lawyer to assist them with this process which can cut down on the overall funds available in the estate. If you want to avoid this situation, make sure that your executor feels confident about serving in this position. Speak to a lawyer about your next steps if you have not yet named an executor for your future.