Some people choose to deal with the pain and loss of a loved one by making things difficult for other family members. The addition of inheritance money in the estate can complicate an already delicate situation.
A common problem is when beneficiaries of an estate pressure the personal representative to make payouts before it is safe to do so. But giving in to impatient beneficiaries can create serious risks for the representative.
Some of our clients report that impatient beneficiaries are a constant source of stress and hassle while awaiting distribution. These beneficiaries are often unconcerned that the representative bears the risk of mistakes in improper distribution.
Representatives should be aware that distributions made before estate closure are made “at-risk.” The risk is that if creditors or government agency claims are discovered and funds have already been distributed, the representative is responsible to claw back the funds from the beneficiaries. If retrieving the money is impossible, the representative is personally responsible to pay. The creditor may institute a surcharge action if the representative refuses to pay. Because representatives have personal legal and financial liability for any creditor claims, even the representative’s own assets may be at risk.
Our law office helps manage beneficiary expectations and reduce your risk when making distributions. We also help ensure that the estate is closed in a way the prevents creditors, beneficiaries and government agencies from seeking money from your personal assets. If you need a law firm to act as your shield throughout estate administration, call us for a free evaluation.
As a probate law firm for estate executors, we help settle estates efficiently and reduce stress. If you know someone faced with a probate process or roadblocks to an estate property sale, please have them contact us for a free evaluation at:
Phone: (215) 918-4242
If you are not quite ready for a consultation, download our probate handbook HERE. We’ll send you helpful probate guides and resources so you know how to handle the estate.