A colleague of mine, who was named as executor under the will, is faced with the not uncommon circumstance of managing the two children heirs who don’t like each other. He can’t yet act for the estate, but there is the real possibility that things could escalate into an ugly and unfortunate situation. In these situations it is imperative that the executor consult with counsel before communicating with the children.
For example, the named executor may need to block access to the home if the children are indicating a fight over personal property is possible. A suggestion of a sharing arrangement might be advisable for a vacation rental property that both children want to access immediately. Instructions may need to be given to the officers of a family business, if a child indicates he or she may disrupt the operation of the business.
Of course, the named executor should endeavor to admit the will to probate as soon as legally possible. Babysitting disgruntled heirs is an occupational hazard of serving as executor. It also may be helpful if the will has a no contest clause.