An executor of an estate has a vast amount of duties. This person takes on great responsibility in a role that can last a few months or even up to a year or two or more in settling an estate. It takes dedication, patience, knowledge, financial savvy and the ability to separate oneself from the personal aspects of an estate. Many executors may be the deceased’s spouse, sibling, parent, child or trusted friend.
Among the many duties of an executor include collecting outstanding debt; paying outstanding bills, income and estate taxes; and distributing assets to beneficiaries. When selecting an executor, you need to find an organized person who is willing and effective.
Responsible, trustworthy and impartial
You deserve credit for creating an estate plan. Some people are surprised as to the details that must be considered in an estate plan. And one of those tasks is choosing an executor. Here are important things to consider when naming an executor:
- Select someone who is trustworthy, impartial and reliable because you want someone who will look out for your estate and beneficiaries.
- Once you have two or three candidates in mind, approach them and ask them if they would be willing to take on the executor’s duties.
- Make sure the candidate is comfortable in this role.
- Make sure they have a history of financial responsibility.
- Have a back-up as an executor. If an estate is complex, consider naming co-executors such as an additional person or professional such as an attorney or representative from a trust company.
You also must make sure that no conflicts of interest exist. The executor is someone who must act in the best interest of the family. If the interests between the executor and the estate collide, a drawn-out legal imbroglio is possible. Your beneficiaries do not want that, and neither do you.
The guidance of an experienced probate attorney can help you choose the right executor. Such an attorney can also provide guidance and oversight of the executor in making certain that individual performs their duties wisely and correctly.