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Avoid Common Executor Mistakes, Elder Law Attorney, Woodstock, GA


If you are named as the executor of an estate, you might feel honored by the appointment. That honor can turn to horror if you make a mistake that subjects you to personal liability.

Being the executor of an estate sounds a lot easier than it really is.

The executor has to figure out what the estate assets are, pay any outstanding debts and distribute the remaining assets according to the wishes of the deceased as dictated in the estate plan. While that sounds simple enough, the path to success is full of potential pitfalls.

This was the message of a recent Wall Street Journal article entitled “The Biggest Mistakes Executors Make.

The article lists the following common mistakes made by executors:

  • Paying Bills Too Soon – Many executors pay bills as soon as they come in. This can be a mistake as some debts, such as to the government, should be paid before other debts to ensure that there is enough money to cover higher priority debts.
  • Investing Estate Assets – Some executors think they can invest assets to increase the value of the estate. While that is good in theory if the investments increase in value, the executor can be held personally liable if they do not.
  • Mishandling Real Estate – Real Estate must be handled carefully. Houses should not be sold too soon or too late and it makes a big difference whether or not there is someone still living on the property.
  • Losing Personal Property – Executors should conduct an inventory of valuable tangible assets to make sure they are properly stored and not taken away by someone else.

One way executors can avoid these mistakes is to hire an experienced estate attorney to help settle the estate. It is not a good idea for non-professionals to try to do it on their own.

Reference: Wall Street Journal (Jan. 31, 2016) “The Biggest Mistakes Executors Make

Hear From Our Clients
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“On the threshold of retirement, we finally decided to quit thinking we could self-prepare the requisite documents. We had previously had only a very simple will. We needed the necessary legal (including updated will) & health care docs but didn’t want to deal with the time & complication of legalese. Cindy made the process relatively painless. She took the time to explain and answer questions without trying to upsell services. We were done in 2 meetings plus the reading of emailed drafts. In addition to preparing the documents, Nelson Eldercare will be there when our adult children need advice on executing the plans we’ve put in place.So glad it’s behind us and would recommend Cindy and her helpful staff.”

- Bonnie

Cindy and her company treat their clients like family. Nelson’s offers clear, direct, and honest guidance in planning for your families security and future. No one wants to actively sit down and make these decisions, but Nelson’s makes this process seamless. I was so impressed with their willingness to answer all questions big or small. So glad I made the decision have them help my mom and dad and now me. You can’t go wrong with Nelson’s Elder Care Law.

- Hope

The very best elder law attorney and staff anyone could ever ask for! I have referred a number of clients to Cindy and she never disappoints. She is kind, caring, and extremely thorough in making sure everything is completed as it should be. I highly recommend Cindy for anyone needing lawyer services; she truly goes above and beyond for every client she helps and has had a huge impact in so many peoples’ lives. Thank you, Cindy and staff, for everything that you do- I’m so glad to know you!

- Kerri

I heard Cindy’s presentation at a Senior Luncheon at my church, and was very impressed. She helped my daughter and me understand many aspects of elder law. Josh has also been very helpful in my planning to enter an independent living situation . I have told many friends about them.

- Charlotte

Cindy and the Nelson Elder Care Law team are trustworthy and helpful. They are the experts in elder care law. At Leaf Cremation, we entrust our families to the care of the Nelson team when their services are needed.

- Pierce