Before Starting Your Job as Executor, Answer These 6 Quick Estate Questions Series

Question 4 Do You Have a Conflict of Interest?

Are you an estate executor and also an estate beneficiary? This is not, generally, a conflict of interest. But consider the circumstances below.

How many different hats do you wear? One hat may be as executor wanting to sell real estate at the highest price. What if you are also interested in buying that real estate? As the executor/buyer, you can’t set a low price. This is a conflict. Decide what hat you want to wear. Are you the seller or the buyer? You can’t be both.

Executors can’t buy estate assets unless permission is given by the will, a court or another legal document.

What if the estate is short of money, what happens?

You can’t choose who you may pay money to. You can’t prefer one beneficiary or creditor over another. All estate creditors must be paid first. They can come looking for you and their money. You need to keep financial records. You may have to defend what you did in court.

Creditors or beneficiaries and courts can force you to provide an accounting. This means you’ll produce your records for inspection. You’ll need to hire lawyers for that. Courts can punish you for improperly distributing assets or letting assets go to waste. You can be forced to pay for your mistakes out of your own pocket. That’s only one of the hazards of being an estate executor.

Read my previous posts, Q #1, #2 and #3 of my series, Before Starting Your Job as Executor, Answer These 6 Quick Estate Questions.

Do you need help with executor work? Contact me.