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What problems could you potentially face as an executor?

On Behalf of | Aug 22, 2023 | Estate Administration & Probate, Estate Planning |

When someone passes away in Washington, they need executors to handle aspects of estate planning. Whether you’re an executor chosen by a recently departed loved one or a court appointed you to this role, executors serve many important responsibilities. But that’s not to say executors are exempt from dealing with problems.

Unfamiliarity with duties

It can feel like an incredible honor when someone trusts you enough to name you as an executor. However, this role is much more than a title. Executors may need to handle a decedent’s finances, properties, and other matters to carry out someone’s last wishes. Sometimes, being unfamiliar with your duties as an executor could make this role a stressful and confusing experience.


Typically, serving as an executor doesn’t mean facing legal trouble. However, creditors or a decedent’s beneficiaries can take an executor to court. This situation can happen if an executor:

  • Embezzles from an estate
  • Pays beneficiaries before creditors
  • Makes significant mistakes with a decedent’s estate
  • Uses another person’s estate to make personal purchases

Probate-related delays

The average duration of probate proceedings in Washington is six months to a year. This process can involve dealing with a contested will, tracking down beneficiaries, and other probate-related tasks. If delays happen, you could spend even more time serving as an executor.

It’s imperative to consider everything being an executor could mean taking on. If you feel uncomfortable in this role, it could be best to let someone else serve as an estate’s executor. Backing out of serving as an executor could spare you and a decedent’s beneficiaries from a lot of confusion.