If you’ve got a will, you’ll need to appoint an executor. Choosing an executor of a will is one of the most important estate planning decisions that you’ll have to make, so it’s best to choose wisely. The right person for the job will not only be a person you trust but also someone who is prepared to take on the responsibilities that come with the territory.
Are you prepared to name your executor? The following will help you understand what an executor does and how to choose the best person for the job.
Duties of an Executor of a Will
In addition to distributing your estate to family members and others named in your will, an executor has several responsibilities. Your executor will have to file papers with the court to begin the probate process so that the validity of your will can be determined. After taking a complete inventory of everything in your estate, the executor of a will must then use any available funds to pay any of your debts or bills, including funeral costs and taxes. The executor also must tie up loose ends—terminate credit cards, close accounts, and notify banks and applicable government agencies of your death. Finally, your executor will need to prepare and file your final income tax returns.
Who to Choose
As the above indicates, the person you choose to be the executor of a will should be good with deadlines and paperwork. Honesty and dependability are key traits that you should look for, as well. While experience with estate matters can certainly be a plus, it is not necessary—your executor has many options for help handling the responsibilities you’ve entrusted to them, estate attorneys included.
Many people choose a family member or someone who has knowledge of their finances and assets. However, if no one close to you appears to be up to the task, you can always appoint a third party executor. It’s also important to consider whether the individual you choose will be able to carry out your wishes when the time comes—whoever you pick should be in good health, preferably younger than you and likely to be around when you pass away.
Talk about the Responsibility
Before you name your executor in your will, be sure to have a conversation with the person you choose to make sure that they are willing. You should also be prepared to discuss your estate with them so that they know what to do when the time comes. Also, be sure to inform them of where you keep important documents, and if you keep them locked up, remember to give them a way to access them when you’re not around. Taking these precautions will help make the process smoother for them and will help them carry out the responsibilities they’ve agreed to.
Naming the executor of your will is an important decision, and when it comes down to it, the decision is yours to make. But you don’t have to make it on your own. Call Casal & Moreno.