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Challenges for those who administer a loved one's estate

In Massachusetts, as elsewhere, it can be difficult to administer the estate of a deceased loved one. While there are professional executors out there who may be of benefit, especially when dealing with unreasonable heirs, one may nonetheless wish to handle the process alone. In this case, there are challenges to be aware of, some of which are given below.

The tasks of an executor require that one be adept at project management. There will be short deadlines to meet. The estate may be probated, but if the loved one was "financially comfortable" and married, it is likely that the couple placed their most valuable assets into a revocable trust.

Executors will need to add someone else, usually an adult child, to be co-trustee in the revocable trust. They may put themselves in. If the remaining spouse dies, the trust becomes irrevocable, so executors must make all the necessary changes right away. This normally includes the adding and removing of beneficiaries.

Then, there is the issue of selling a home. Realtors know when home-selling season is and may pressure an executor into preparing the home by then. There may be belongings to sell off or leave to an estate liquidator. There are also tax issues, issues with life insurance policies and so much more.

Executors may want to see a lawyer about probate and estate administration, the former being especially important because it means the state may distribute an estate in ways that would have been contrary to the decedent's wishes. This only happens when someone dies intestate. With a lawyer, executors may learn about what to expect in the probate court. The lawyer may also serve as a line of communication between personal representative and the heirs.

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