Executing an estate gets easier the more you do it. Yet, most people only ever do it once, meaning they are likely to make mistakes that cost time, money, and, in some cases, trust.

If you are named as executor, it is likely by a close family member or friend. Therefore, trust, time and money take on extra value. Understanding some of the common pitfalls can help your first and only time go smoothly.


Here are three things to consider if you need to pass an estate through probate:

  1. Be honest with yourself: Ensure you are happy to fulfill the role. Despite the promises you made to someone years ago that you would act as executor, it may be better to back out if you cannot dedicate the time, care and enthusiasm the role needs.
  2. Be transparent with others: While you might be the sole executor, that does not mean you can work alone. You need to maintain transparency and keep all beneficiaries up to date with your progress. Keeping detailed records will help if anyone challenges your actions.
  3. Be thorough and methodical: You might feel under pressure to get the estate through probate as fast as possible, but going too fast can end up being slower. If you rush through the process, you are likely to miss details. Take your time and double-check everything you do. It will be faster in the long run.

It is also essential to be open to help. Even if you think you can work it out alone, having help from someone with experience in executing estates may be best. It will make it easier on you and help reassure everyone else that the estate is distributed according to the deceased’s wishes.