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Following are some common mistakes that can happen during Probate. Some of these are minor issues, while others can result in legal liability or monetary penalties.

  • Requesting help from friends or family members instead of hiring appropriate counsel

  • Early distribution: paying out proceeds too early or in the wrong order of priority

  • Not following the terms of the Will

  • Failure to provide the probate attorney an accurate inventory of all the assets of the estate

  • Confusing non-probate assets with probate assets

  • Failing to communicate with the heirs/beneficiaries

  • Placing estate funds into a personal bank account rather than an estate account (This is known as comingling funds)

  • Ignoring outstanding debt of the estate

  • Self-dealing: Acting in the personal representative's own best interest rather than in the best interest of the estate

  • Not keeping records of assets, liabilities, receipts and disbursements

  • Not having heirs/beneficiaries sign a release approving the accounting

  • Failing to post legal notice to creditors

  • Waiting too long to act or failing to act on requests within time limits of the court or attorney

  • Failing to live up to fiduciary responsibility of being impartial, fair, and honest 

  • Not securing/maintaining real estate or other estate property

  • Neglecting to pick up mail regularly from decedent’s property and respond to notices/requests

  • Improperly closing the estate

Because Probate can be a complex process, it is important to have the right professionals on your side to advise you and ensure that everything goes smoothly. As a Certified Probate Real Estate Specialist, Dave Merrick can be a resource for you throughout the process along with the advice and services of your attorney.

Common Probate Mistakes


6100 Lake Forrest Drive Suite 120, Atlanta, GA 30328


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