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Dealing with demanding heirs and belligerent beneficiaries

On Behalf of | Dec 9, 2020 | Estate Planning

When you’re in charge of an estate or trust, you have a big job and a lot of worries — not the least of which may be dealing with problematic heirs and beneficiaries who are often impatient or hostile.

What kinds of problems can you encounter with an estate’s heirs?

Heirs and beneficiaries can get very demanding when they feel like you’re holding the keys to their inheritance. They may feel slighted by the terms of the estate or trust and seek to control the situation by asking for constant updates, reports and accounting. They may make threats to file a lawsuit if they don’t like what you tell them or harass you in to doing what they want in spite of the rules you’re expected to follow.

How can you put a stop to the ongoing problems?

Essentially, you have to fall back on the knowledge that you were put in charge of the estate or trust for a reason. You have a job to do, and you need to do it to the best of your ability — no matter what the heirs may say or do.

To avoid potential legal problems, you should:

  • Secure the deceased’s assets as quickly as possible so that they cannot be scooped up before you have a chance to determine how they are to be handled or divided
  • Sit the beneficiaries and heirs down and explain the deceased’s wishes and what terms you are expected to follow.
  • Limit communications to “office hours” or emails so that you don’t get overwhelmed by intrusive phone calls at all hours of the day or night.

Finally, consider hiring an attorney to help you. You don’t have to manage everything on your own and an attorney can protect your interests (especially when you may be dealing with litigious heirs).