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Can an executor be subject to legal action?

Your estate may be subject to Indiana probate laws after you die. During probate, an executor reviews creditor claims, reviews legal claims from other interested parties and facilitates the transfer of assets to beneficiaries. The executor can either be named in your will or, if necessary, appointed by the probate judge. If an executor fails to do his or her job correctly, they may be subject to legal action.

Creditors have a right to be paid

An executor is not liable for the debts accrued by your estate. However, an executor must review creditor claims promptly and ensure that they are paid if sufficient resources exist. If payments are not made promptly, creditors may have grounds to take legal action.

Executors cannot act in a dishonest manner

An estate representative is tasked with inventorying and securing assets after you pass. If an executor fails to do so, it may open that person up to personal liability. This may be especially true if there is reason to believe that the estate representative took assets or that they were allowed to be seized.

Mistakes may happen

In most cases, a judge won’t hold an estate representative liable for making an honest mistake. For example, if there was reason to believe that a debt wasn’t valid, a creditor might have difficulty obtaining a favorable outcome. Furthermore, estate litigation may not be appropriate as doing so may simply delay a probate case or cause other issues that may be more impactful than whatever error an executor made.

If you are worried about problems arising during probate, it may be possible to avoid it entirely. Creating a trust may allow your assets to remain outside your estate, eliminating the need for probate. You may also transfer assets using beneficiary designations to ensure beneficiaries receive their inheritance as soon as possible after your death.