Are you a personal representative flirting with disaster by mismanaging probate assets?

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Mismanaging estate assets can result in significant legal and financial consequences for both the estate and its beneficiaries. By reading the following 3 examples of estate mismanagement and tips on how to prevent it, you will learn how to obtain the support you need as a personal representative.

       1. Failure to properly inventory and safeguard assets.

Imagine this scenario: You forget to list all assets in your inventory. This oversight could lead to the loss or theft of valuable items, resulting in significant financial loss and potential legal battles that you will have to address.

What’s the attorney tip for this scenario? Secure and document all assets immediately, including real estate, personal property, financial accounts, and collectibles belonging to the deceased person.

        2. Poor investment decisions.

Imagine making investments without considering the financial safety of those you’re responsible for, known as beneficiaries, leading to significant losses and a reduced inheritance for them.

The attorney’s tip is to seek advice from financial professionals and prioritize low-risk investments to preserve the estate’s value.

        3. Using estate assets for personal gain.

What if you use estate money for personal expenses or take property without permission? This breaks your promise as a personal representative to handle the estate responsibly. If not managed effectively, it may result in significant legal trouble and cause beneficiaries to lose faith in you.

The attorney tip here is to keep detailed records and ensure that all transactions benefit the estate. It is important to keep personal and estate expenses separate to avoid any confusion. By avoiding these pitfalls, personal representatives can responsibly fulfill their duties and maintain the integrity of the estate administration process.

This article is for educational purposes only, not to provide specific legal advice. It should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

For assistance with Maryland and D.C. wills, estate planning and probate, contact the

Law Offices of Elsa W. Smith, LLC at


Attorney Elsa W. Smith

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