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By: Scott Grossman on October 15th, 2016

Personal Representatives: Avoid Conflict by Asking Questions

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Sometimes, the best offense is a good defense. Personal representatives tasked with administering the estates of their loved ones can prevent many possible conflicts. One way is by being very careful as they conduct the probate proceedings. For example, take the time to ensure that the petition for probate is completed fully, and adequately. This minimizes the risk of a conflict arising over the beneficiaries listed on the form. Asking questions is not always as easy it may seem, however. Even simple questions can have complex answers during a probate administration.

Eight Questions to Ask Yourself When Completing the Petition for Probate

As you prepare to submit a petition for probate, consider asking yourself the following questions in order to reduce the risk of a dispute.

Did you:

  1. List the proper address for the beneficiary on the petition for probate?
  2. Make enough effort to locate a missing beneficiary?
  3. Note that a beneficiary was a minor, and list his or her guardian, on the petition?
  4. List the children or grandchildren of a pre-deceased beneficiary on the petition for probate, if such beneficiary was related to the decedent?
  5. List the beneficiaries of the decedent’s trust, if necessary?
  6. Verify whether the beneficiaries outlived the decedent for the amount of time stated in the will?
  7. Ensure you had the names of all of the children, grandchildren, or other beneficiaries part of the group? For example, if the will states that property should go to “all of my brother’s children,” ensure that you have named every child.
  8. Give proper notice to foreign parties if any beneficiary is a foreign citizen?