When serving as an executor for another individual’s will, it is important to remember that a will may not be as enforceable as you or the testator would like. Several factors contribute to the unenforcibility of a will, and each requires a sober approach to handle correctly.
Of course, if you are unsure of how to carry out the process of executing a will, do not hesitate to seek out the guidance of experienced legal counsel.
Sometimes, a testator creates a will that does not align with the law, and therefore cannot be executed, or executed fully. Many people seem to have the notion that a will is a magical document that allows people to make any number of demands about how their estate is handled after they pass away.
However, if you were to create a will that asked the executor to do something illegal, the will may not be honored at all, or the very least challenged in court. For instance, if the testator indicates that he or she does not wish to leave anything to a spouse or a dependent child, a judge is unlikely to honor this request. Of course, anything that breaks other known areas of law, such desecration of person or property is also a hard sell to the court.
Furthermore, a will may be invalidated if it was not created according to state guidelines. Not only must the testator be deemed mentally capable of creating a will when he or she does so, if the will itself is faulty in some aspect, such as a poorly executed amendment, then the will may be invalidated by the court. As an executor, you may face great difficulty in administering the wishes of the will.
For those facing a difficult scenario, or simply unsure of how to proceed with a will, it is always best to enlist the guidance of a qualified legal professional with significant experience creating and administering legitimate will and estate plans. With proper legal guidance, you can carry out your duties as an executor with confidence.
Source: FindLaw, “Estate Administration: The Will After Death,” accessed Feb. 17, 2017