Being named an executor of a will can be an honour. It can also be a big hassle. But as an executor, you should bear in mind there are legal duties and responsibilities, as well as carrying out the wishes of the deceased.
There are some things you should not do, as an executor of the estate of someone:
1. You should not ignore requests for information.
It is your duty to keep people informed. Being an executor is not about having “power” and “control.”
2. You should not switch out property.
If you, or your spouse convinces you, to switch property, while claiming it was the property of the estate, but you are switching it for your own property that is of lesser quality/value, this is outright unethical and pretty disgusting.
Not only is it disgusting and immoral, it is fraud. You could face legal issues if you switch property for your own, and claim it was property of the estate.
3. You Ought Not To Have Items For Your Own Pleasure When It’s Clear It Should Go To Others Or Be Shared With Others.
As an executor, it is not your right to have access to property or information and use it for your own pleasure, while others are waiting. This is also disgusting and hurtful.
There is no defense for this sort of behaviour, but is a sign of a mind that does not care about ethics.
If you are a person that on the outside, tries to give the impression you are an ethical, moral, upright person, but are engaging in trickery, lies, lack of communication with others, you are actually even more immoral than those who make no claims regarding ethics.
If after years, your actions lead others to have no other option but to seek out their own legal advice, and pay for that, you need to check your mind and your values. Legal action is a last resort – but if you leave not many other options, it could be quite costly – to you as well.
If you know the intent of the deceased, even though it may not be explicitly stated, you should carry out the intent, and not try to be a control freak. This is not a “duty” of an executor to be a control freak in regard to others, but instead, you ought to be a control freak about the inventory, fully disclosing information, and disclosing in a timely manner.
4. You Don’t Keep Stuff Or Information For Your Own Personal Hobbies.
While it is tempting, you ought not to keep information or items to yourself, that ought to be shared, for your own personal interests or pleasure, until you have first shared it with others directly involved and interested. This is so very basic – and ought to be recognized by any moral mind.
If you have been a person that has judged others, claimed some morality for yourself in the past, but has switched out property, holds back on information and the sharing of items for your own pleasure or hobbies, refuse to acknowledge the intent of the deceased and that has been known for decades, has advised others in the past to “Get back to the God of your ancestors,” – then you should be a person on your own knees begging for forgiveness for your hurtful and unethical ways to the God of your ancestors.
Maybe, if you are reading this, you think it is funny – or you feel hurt for being called out. Think about the hurt upon the discovery of property being switched, the lack of communication, the requests for information that go ignored, and the realization that while others are waiting, your using your role as executor for your own pleasure, while even taking expense payments.
Others agreed to put their trust in you. Screwing that up not just once, but a few times – results in very bad blood.
Govern yourself accordingly, if you have been named an executor of a will and carry out the role.
If you want to be trusted, then act in ways, all the time, especially when it involves others, in a way that is trustworthy. It’s pretty simple.
You are the caretaker of the wishes of the deceased. Not your own personal ambition, pleasures, and ego.