Managing Estate Assets


One of an executor’s many responsibilities is preserving estate assets until distribution. In order to manage estate assets, the executor must first access and inventory items.
Each asset carries unique considerations in regard to maintenance and tax matters. Real property, stocks, financial accounts, personal property, and other assets should be carefully reviewed on an individual basis. The executor might need to employ a property management company to oversee maintenance of a house, rental property, or real property in other jurisdictions. Some financial accounts might prompt investment decisions that would be best suited for a tax or financial adviser.
Overseeing estate assets could be a burden for executors, particularly if the decedent bequeathed out-of-state property or unique assets. A firearms collection or rare art pose distinct, but equally pressing, management concerns. These items and other factors could complicate settling the estate. For one, the executor will need to appoint an agent in other states where probate property is located. Firearms, if not managed within a gun trust, pose legal concerns regarding their storage and transfer. Rare art or other collectibles might require specialized storage, transport, and insurance. Factor in tax concerns, and an executor could easily be overwhelmed.
In addition to the challenging circumstances some estates present, the executor could make unintentional errors if they navigate estate administration independently. Executors have liability concerns surrounding mismanagement of estate assets. Administrative errors could be expensive to correct. Damage to or loss of assets, whether tangible or financial, could prompt estate beneficiaries to file litigation. If successful, beneficiaries could collect losses from the executor. In some circumstances, beneficiaries may be awarded additional compensation beyond their losses.
To prevent problems and ensure proper asset management, executors should act prudently throughout administration. Once an executor is issued Letters Testamentary by the court, they may access and inventory assets. This is an ideal time to seek professional guidance as review of the estate’s assets can elucidate potential administrative concerns. Learn about possible mistakes executors make without legal counsel.
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