A person who is old or contracts a serious illness may spend the last few years of his or her life in ailing condition, making it difficult or impossible to tackle some important financial matters or property issues. A potential executor to a sick loved one should be aware of possible challenges when it comes time to take up executor duties.
Making a solid estate plan can help an executor administer an estate and distribute assets to beneficiaries without delays. Still, if a decedent was unable to keep up with certain responsibilities in the last years of life, an executor should check for these neglected duties while closing out an estate.
According to the American Bar Association, an executor has the responsibility of filing the final tax form for the decedent. However, an ill decedent may have neglected to file the tax return for the previous year or perhaps for multiple years. The executor should check for any missing tax filings if the executor suspects the decedent was not able to file taxes.
It is not unusual for people to leave behind unpaid debts. An executor should notify creditors so they can make claims on an estate within a certain time period. However, an old or infirm decedent may have neglected debt payments for months or even years, so the debt burden could be larger than the executor expects. Some checking of the decedent’s financial records may reveal any sizable buildup of debt.
Poor home maintenance
As Homelight points out, a home in probate could need some repair and improvements. This is because a house sold in probate may have belonged to someone who was too sick or disabled to maintain it. If the house goes to a beneficiary, the heir might use personal funds to improve the home. Conversely, the executor may use estate funds to fix the home for a sale if there are no heirs to claim the residence.
Given the possible issues an executor may face, careful planning and professional help could be of benefit to a person tasked with overseeing an estate.