Unruly heirs? Welcome to the estate administration world

Fast & CompanyEstate Administration, General

Sometimes the administrators of estates have to deal with demanding and unpleasant heirs and beneficiaries. If they are really unlucky, they may even be related to them by blood or marriage.

In cases like that, the best strategy is learning how to best manage these types of people. Often their disagreeable behaviours stem from a lack of control over what they perceive to rightfully belong to them.

Complex, high-value estates in British Columbia don’t settle overnight. The heirs may be concerned that the administrator is poorly managing valuable assets and clamor to take possession before they legally are permitted. Sometimes simply validating their concerns may allay their fears enough to allow administrators to perform the job they were appointed to do.

Other heirs may simply be anxious or overwhelmed by the loss of a parent or provider. Reassuring them that you are at the helm and competently executing your duties can relieve their minds.

It’s a good idea to retain a competent estate administration lawyer when you have beneficiaries and heirs who are difficult or impatient. Simply being able to vet your decisions over the administration of the estate can legitimize your role to any naysayers.

Being named as administrator of a complex estate is a great responsibility that should never be undertaken lightly. Remember that you were chosen because the deceased felt that you had the capabilities to carry out his or her wishes and handle the duties ethically and responsibly. You ultimately will be held accountable for the decisions you make regarding the estate and its administration and distribution, so make sure that your actions can always withstand any scrutiny.

Source: wealthmanagement.com, “Understanding and Managing Overly Controlling Clients,” G. Scott Budge, March 04, 2016