Who Should You Choose to Be Executor of Your Will?

Executors often include spouses, adult children and siblings; it may also be beneficial to choose someone who will receive a significant portion of the estate as executor.

Selecting an executor from within your family can often lead to disputes among beneficiaries and will contests, making a professional the better option in such instances.

1. Family

When writing a will, people often consider designating their spouse, significant other or adult child as executor. Although this can be an excellent decision in some instances, keep in mind that family dynamics can quickly turn negative after someone passes. If there are issues between family members posthumously and potentially court battles ensue as beneficiaries attempt to collect assets. This could drain assets quickly while prolonging distribution.

As well, your executor should possess strong financial management skills. An executor’s job involves keeping tabs on expenses and assets while making timely tax payments – any financial mistakes could lead to selling investments too soon, missing tax payments altogether or leaving debts unpaid. Therefore it would be prudent to select someone with knowledge of probate law who can manage complex legal matters efficiently.

Consider also whether your chosen person can devote enough time and dedication to fulfilling the duties of an executor. Executor duties can take up much of an executor’s time; therefore if your choice leads a busy lifestyle or has demanding jobs they may not have the availability necessary for fulfilling this role.

Finally, it’s essential that your chosen person resides near where most of your assets are held. Otherwise, probate proceedings could become much simpler – if he/she lives far away they may have difficulty attending court dates regularly and keeping in touch with your lawyer about progress made so far.

If there are no responsible friends or family members available to serve as executors for you, professional executors can be hired outside for a fee. A bank, trust company, attorney are common choices but be wary when making your decision as each will charge additional fees and could demand higher commission than what would otherwise be paid by relatives or friends.

2. Friends

Executors are those charged with administering property and following instructions set forth by wills, often taking months to administer an estate. Therefore, it’s vital that you choose someone reliable who can effectively complete this role.

Many people opt for family members as executors, yet if one of those chosen to inherit your estate also acts as the executor, this could become problematic. Executor responsibilities include paying off final debts, closing accounts (such as bank accounts, superannuation funds and insurance policies) and selling assets – so an executor who inherits from your estate cannot expect to perform these tasks without receiving payment for doing so.

Consider whether the executor you select can communicate effectively. Handling an estate can often be emotionally and stressful for beneficiaries, so your executor needs to be capable of effectively conveying messages between beneficiaries if there are disputes or disagreements among them.

Your executor should possess sufficient personal financial affairs of their own to ensure they can fulfill the responsibilities associated with your estate without posing an undue financial risk. Individuals who have multiple creditors, liens or legal action against them; bankruptcy proceedings against them or have declared them self bankrupt will most likely not qualify to serve as your executor.

Sometimes people opt to hire a professional executor as their executor. This could be useful if your assets require special knowledge; however, professional executors typically charge for their services and often demand higher payments than friends or family would. Furthermore, choosing an executor can make the estate settlement process significantly less stressful for those left behind – hiring an experienced estate planning lawyer will assist in this decision-making process.

3. Professionals

As part of writing your will, it’s essential that you choose an executor – someone to take over after your death – for your estate. Executing your estate involves many responsibilities including selling properties, filing lawsuits against creditors and distributing assets among beneficiaries; taking on this role may prove daunting and stressful for some people.

When choosing an executor, it’s essential that you select someone with appropriate skills and commitment who is also willing to accept the role. Furthermore, it may be prudent to appoint an alternate in case your first choice turns down or cannot fulfill their duties at the right time.

Appointing an outside professional, such as a solicitor or accountant, as your executor may be the solution you are searching for; however, these professionals typically charge for their services and you should get an idea of the costs before selecting this option. Furthermore, certain specialists may even require a percentage of your estate value before taking this route – this may cause additional complications down the road.

Honesty should be at the top of your list when looking for an executor. As they will be handling large sums of money and will need to follow your wishes in your will, as well as excellent communication skills as they will need to contact people, pay bills and appear before courts on your behalf.

If your will stipulates your desire to disinherit certain family members or leave friends and relatives only nominal amounts, the executor must have strong spine. Such decisions often create anger among beneficiaries who attempt to overturn your wishes; the executor will need to manage such challenges without becoming emotionally invested, finding fair solutions.

When naming family or friends to serve as executors of your estate, it’s advisable to provide them with details regarding your assets (life insurance policies, mortgages, deeds, total investments, safe deposit boxes and computer passwords), along with instructions regarding their distribution after death. This will save them both time and expense in searching for this information after they find out you have passed on.

4. Co-executors

While it’s typical to choose a spouse, significant other, or adult child as executor for an estate, that doesn’t guarantee they are the ideal selection. Family members can often be challenging when it comes to sorting through personal possessions – not agreeing on how they should be handled or wanting to keep items that may not legally permitted – making the last thing you want after death be an argument between children over your personal belongings.

Appointing a backup executor or co-executor can be beneficial in these instances, providing your chosen person with someone they trust who can assist them in managing your estate and allowing a smoother process should your primary executor be unavailable or unwilling to serve.

Appointing multiple executors may also be advantageous when an estate contains various assets that require different expertise to manage, such as real estate holdings. One person might oversee real estate holdings while the second oversees bank accounts and traditional assets. Finally, some people prefer naming co-executors just in case their first choice becomes unavailable or unwilling to fulfill this role.

Remember when selecting an executor that they will be required to get bonded by the court and cover any associated probate fees. Therefore, avoid selecting someone with significant debt who cannot maintain financial stability. Discuss this decision with them first so they can tell you whether or not they accept this responsibility.

If you need assistance choosing an executor, speaking to an experienced attorney could be beneficial. He or she can explain their role, help select someone suitable, and ensure your wishes will be carried out upon your death. Furthermore, speaking with such an individual could prevent costly mistakes which leave your family struggling in its wake.