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What are the top mistakes made by executors?

Serving as an estate executor is easier said than done. This may appear simple and straightforward on the surface, but things can soon become complicated if you don't know what you are doing.

Here are some of the top mistakes made by executors:

-- Paying bills right away. While it's good to be "on the ball" you don't want to pay bills too quickly, as you never know what is and is not actually due.

-- Attempting to increase the value of the estate. Some executors make the mistake of playing the market with the idea that they can increase the value of the estate by investing assets. This is a big risk that can backfire.

-- Neglecting to understand the management of real estate. There are many things that go into this, including but not limited to when and if to sell the home, the listing price, and which real estate agent to use.

-- Losing physical assets. It's your job to ensure that all physical assets are kept safe until they are distributed. This can be a challenge, especially if you have reason to believe that somebody, such as a family member, may try to take the item.

An estate executor is tasked with many responsibilities and is sure to face a variety of challenges. While this is never a simple task, there are steps you can take to make your life easier. By remaining organized and working closely with the right professionals, such as an attorney, you'll be in position to make informed and accurate decisions.

Source: Wall Street Journal, "The Biggest Mistakes Executors Make," accessed June 16, 2017

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