Being the executor or administrator of an estate is a thankless job. Although sometimes the deceased individual leaves a financial pittance or extra assets for the executor, many times it is a duty performed out of a sense of obligation rather than for compensation.

For some people, that sense of obligation may not be enough to motivate them. In fact, even in a situation where the testator left assets to compensate the executor, they could still fail to fulfill their obligations to the estate, the deceased and the beneficiaries of the estate.

If you are a beneficiary of an estate who’s executor or administrator has so far failed to uphold their obligations, you may need to ask the court to intercede.

Be reasonable in your expectations regarding turnaround time

When someone dies, it can take weeks or even months for the administrator of their estate to tie up all the financial loose ends they leave behind. Among their myriad obligations will be the filing of the deceased’s last tax return, the repayments of all outstanding personal debt and the settlement of other accounts, such as utility bills in the name of the deceased.

All of this must occur before any distributions to heirs or beneficiaries from the assets of the estate can begin. The executor may have to send the death certificate, certified letters and other evidence to each individual business and account.

Don’t let frustration with not receiving your inheritance yet push you into making baseless accusations. However, if bills have gone unpaid and taxes unfiled, then you may have reason to worry about the performance of the executor or administrator.

 Some people simply can’t meet the requirement of estate administration

Managing all of the details and financial needs of an estate is complicated and can require full-time attention for long enough to affect someone’s job. If the executor is a professional, they simply may not have the time to devote to the administration of the estate.

The same is true of those with children or health conditions that limit their free time or mobility. Sometimes, the executor might live in another state and simply can’t travel, leaving everything in limbo.

In the event that the named executor simply can’t do their job, challenging them or asking the courts to name a replacement may be the best way to proceed, as continued inaction could have dire financial consequences for the estate.