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What should an executor communicate to beneficiaries?

On Behalf of | Oct 19, 2023 | Probate

An executor has many duties, including communicating with beneficiaries. An estate’s beneficiaries have a right to information. So, what should you communicate to the beneficiaries of the estate you are overseeing?

Here are three things to communicate:

Inclusion in a will  

Beneficiaries have a right to know they have been included in a will. Therefore, when you take your loved one’s will to probate, you will notify all beneficiaries about their inclusion and that the will has gone to probate. This notice should be in writing.

Information about the estate

The beneficiaries of the estate you are managing may want to know the estate’s assets, the values of each asset/debt, how you plan to pay debts and so on. You should provide them with adequate information to avoid misunderstandings. And when you don’t have an answer about a matter, let them know you will reach out when you have enough information. 

Information about the probate process

The probate process can be lengthy, especially if an estate is complex. Accordingly, beneficiaries may contact you to know when to expect distribution. You should keep them informed about the probate process. Failing to do so may lead to claims of poor communication or mismanagement.

If the estate may experience potential delays, perhaps you are working on a legal action, tell the beneficiaries about them as soon as possible.

Are there limits to what you can communicate?

You may not need to provide beneficiaries with all the details they request. For example, you don’t need to give them detailed balance sheets or inform them about every move you make. But you should keep them reasonably informed.

Being an executor can be complicated. You should consider legal guidance to make your work more manageable.