Accounting missteps to avoid when administering an estate

On Behalf of | Jun 8, 2020 | Firm News

An estate executor has numerous responsibilities, which can be overwhelming. And these duties can be further complicated by family unrest and emotional trauma following someone’s death.

In these circumstances, accurate recordkeeping can be crucial because beneficiaries are not involved in specific transactions or estate administration processes. This separation can foster feelings of doubt and disagreement. If you are an estate executor, you should know how to minimize disputes arising from these feelings by avoiding the following mistakes.

  1. Failing to keep thorough records – Again, accurate recordkeeping is essential. If an administrator does not track financial transactions, parties may dispute the details of a sale or valuation, or contest the administrator’s capabilities. An administrator should record payments, tax filings, property sales and appraisals, and expenditures, which can be part of the final accounting.
  2. Losing track of estate funds – There can be a lot of property and accounts to manage during the administration of an estate, particularly if a person left behind incomplete or disorganized records. However, losing track of property or funds can create serious problems for an executor. To avoid this, representatives should keep separate accounts for the estate to avoid misusing or mismanaging funds.
  3. Miscalculating administration services – Estate representatives are entitled to take a fee for their services. The fee depends on the appraised value of the decedent’s property, though it can be reduced or increased in some situations. However, parties accused of misrepresenting circumstances or miscalculating figures can wind up facing harsh legal and financial penalties.

Avoiding these missteps can be crucial in minimizing disputes and accusations while navigating the administration process.

No matter how comfortable you may be handling finances or dealing with complicated family dynamics, money can change people’s actions and opinions. As such, keeping accurate records and complying with the laws for administering an estate will be vital. If questions or conflicts do arise, parties can address them with a legal representative.