When it comes to making sure your estate passes on as intended, choosing a capable executor is just as important as creating a carefully considered will. After your death, your executor will be responsible for carrying out the terms of your will and guiding your estate through the probate process.
From inventorying, appraising and distributing assets to resolving debt and tax obligations, the role of executor is often an involved and time-consuming responsibility. That makes it important to select an individual who you trust to handle complex financial affairs under difficult circumstances.
Is he or she comfortable with finances?
Generally, any items that you own individually must pass through probate before distributing to beneficiaries. During the probate process, your executor will have many financial responsibilities. In addition to submitting a comprehensive inventory of your assets, he or she must fulfill any unpaid debts, including tax obligations, and handle final estate expenses, such as funeral costs or court fees.
Is he or she organized and timely?
While probate often takes months to resolve, a competent executor can help the process go more smoothly by staying on top of deadlines and keeping detailed records of estate transactions. Failing to handle probate duties in a timely fashion may delay the closing of your estate and lead to additional costs.
Does he or she get along with other family members?
Your family’s specific dynamics are also an important consideration. In addition to honoring your wishes in executing your will, he or she should be able to handle potential objections or conflicts with discretion, diplomacy and honesty.