Choosing an Executor for Your Estate

After you’ve spoken to an estate planning attorney and learned the basic concepts of estate planning, next you’ll need to consider which people will help you carry out your wishes for your estate, one of which would be the “executor.”

Executor of the Will

The executor is the person who you name in your will to wrap up the affairs of your estate. This individual will be in charge of seeing the estate settlement process to completion. The person you choose to be your executor should have financial savvy since they will be responsible for a large sum of assets.

The executor’s responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Notifying all creditors
  • Contacting beneficiaries
  • Paying off all debts
  • Filing taxes
  • Valuating assets
  • Liquidating assets
  • Collecting rents
  • Selling real estate
  • Reporting to the probate court
  • Distributing the remaining assets to beneficiaries

Not only do executors have a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the beneficiaries and the estate, they are held accountable to the probate court, and they cannot engage in any self-dealing. If your executor doesn’t have any experience with probate (as most people don’t), it’s important that he or she hire a probate attorney for guidance.

Can I appoint more than one executor?

You do have the option of appointing more than one executor. If you know two people; for example, your spouse and eldest daughter, or your two children, who both have the skillsets and personalities to make good decisions, then there’s no reason why you can’t select co-executors.

Not everyone has a close relative or friend that they can trust to handle their estate. If you’re in this situation, you may prefer to appoint a professional, such as a probate lawyer to act as the executor of your estate.

Appointing an executor is only the beginning. There are other roles that will need to be filled during the estate planning process. You’ll want to talk to your estate planning attorney about guardians, trustees, health care proxies, trustees, and appointing a power of attorney.

To evaluate your options, contact an estate planning lawyer today!