An executor is the person in charge of administering a deceased person’s estate and paying their creditors. Choosing a competent executor can make things easier for your family and help them avoid problems that may arise after your passing. Talking with an estate planning lawyer about who you think is right for the job can give you a more objective perspective and help you choose an executor who will settle your estate in a harmonious and effective manner.
Things to Consider When Choosing an Executor
Depending on the complexity of the estate and any issues that may arise, the job of an executor can last for more than a year. Choosing the right person can mean the difference between settling an estate harmoniously and efficiently and getting bogged down in a time-consuming legal quagmire. A good executor should be honest, responsible, well-organized, diplomatic and methodical about properly filing paperwork and meeting deadlines. An executor gets paid a commission for doing their work; and you should expect them to take their responsibilities as seriously as they would for any other job.
It’s also important to keep in mind that you need to ask potential executors and alternates before naming them. If the person(s) you choose is unaware, they may be in for a rude awakening upon your passing.
Should You Choose A Family Member?
Many people think of choosing a close family member such as a spouse or child as executor because they assume that the person will understand your intentions and have easy access to the assets that must be distributed. Each situation is unique, and one of the most vital things to consider is whether the person you choose has the time and gumption to handle all that is involved in the distribution of an estate.
Take some time to consider different aspects of your family dynamics. If you have children and know that they do not see eye to eye, you may want to avoid selecting one of them as your executor. If you come to the conclusion that a close friend, accountant or wills and trusts attorney would be a better choice, it’s probably best to go with your gut and avoid choosing a family member.
Choosing More Than One Executor
Some people feel that they need to name all of their children as co-executors to treat them equally. Generally, this is not recommended by probate and estate lawyers. Siblings often get into conflict about various issues surrounding an estate or one person ends up doing the majority of the work. Not only that, when important documents need to be signed everyone must be rounded up to collect signatures. Naming just one child as executor and the others as alternates can preserve harmony in the family and make the distribution of your estate run more smoothly.
At Carosella & Associates, our experienced estate planning attorneys can provide you with the counsel you need to help you make an informed decision about choosing an executor for your estate.