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Estate executor tips for dealing with difficult beneficiaries

On Behalf of | Oct 31, 2023 | Estate Planning

When you agreed to be the estate executor for a friend or family member, you expected the job to require time, effort and energy. Unfortunately, you probably were not anticipating having to deal with difficult inheritors.

Troublesome heirs can make things difficult for executors, but that usually is not their intention. Since you must deal with them until your role as executor ends, the following tips can see you through your duties with your sanity intact.

Keep them updated about timelines

Most people fail to grasp the complexity of estate administration and probate and may expect to receive their inheritance right away. When they don’t get it quickly, they might raise an alarm or pester you for information.

You can prevent this by informing estate heirs and beneficiaries about estimated timelines and any unanticipated delays in asset distribution.

Address everyone all at once  

Communicating with those who stand to gain from an estate can be problematic, especially if spread across the globe. However, overlooking an interested party can open the door to allegations of favoritism.

You may circumvent this risk by using group emails or virtual meeting applications like Zoom when updating those named in estate documents.

Educate them about the law

Ignorance of the law is a common cause of estate disputes and beneficiary complaints. Explaining to everyone connected to the estate how probate works may increase your peace of mind and reassure heirs and beneficiaries.

Remember, probate laws in Montana (and all states) can change rapidly. When communicating with those involved in the estate, ensure you know and understand the most recent probate code. Legal guidance can be a critical source of knowledge and support throughout your journey as an estate executor.