Essential Advice for Selecting an Executor

Individuals traditionally select family members to serve as the executors of their estates. Sometimes, however, family situations become complicated after the death of a loved, like the current situation involving the estate of Muhammad Ali. Individuals hope to be able to count on their family members during a difficult time. Selecting an individual, however, to serve as the executor of one’s estate is a large responsibility. This article will provide some tips in selecting an executor for one’s estate.

  • An Executor Should Be Trustworthy. It is imperative that an executor be trustworthy because he or she will be exposed to a variety of financial secrets. He or she will be responsible for reviewing the assets of the estate, determining the deceased individual’s liabilities, and paying off the deceased individual’s debts.
  • Anticipate Potential Conflicts. Consider whether naming an individual as executor will create any potential conflicts among loved ones.
  • Economical Decisions are Necessary. Individuals must make sure that estates do not lose value prior to successful distribution.
  • Choose Someone Capable of Handling the Responsibility. An executor must have a great capacity for organization, be attentive to detail, meet deadlines, and perform other tasks. An individual should be selected who will be able to best fulfill these responsibilities.
  • Do Not Decide Executors Based on Emotional Connections. Do not let your emotional connection to an individual determine who you choose to act as executor. Not every beloved family member possesses the skills requisite to become an executor.
  • Ensure That Your Executor is Diplomatic. In deciding who to serve as executor, select an individual who would be diplomatic in nature while acting as executor.
  • Executors Must Be Organized. The individual who is named executor will be tasked with a variety of detailed assignments including making lists of assets and ensuring that timely distributions for estate taxes are made.
  • Executors Should Be Sensitive. Executors should be sensitive and compassionate enough to ensure that a deceased individual’s last requests are successfully carried out.
  • Make Sure an Individual Knows You Have Named Him or Her as Executor. If you do decide to name an individual as executor of an estate, make sure this individual is informed of your decision. Make sure that alternatives are lined up as well.
  • Make Sure an Individual Named as Executor Has all the Information. If you do decide to appoint either a family member or another loved one as executor, make sure the individual is given the contact information for a reputable estate planning attorney who can assist in ensuring that the executor’s duties are properly carried out
  • Realize There are Other Options. Individuals should know that if they cannot find someone to satisfy all of these qualities, other choices exist including naming a bank or financial institution as executor. Individuals can also ask an estate planning attorney to partner with the individual who is named as an executor.
  • Sometimes a Professional is the Best Choice. You might be unable to select a third party to serve as executor and instead select an attorney or other professional to act as executor of your estate. In this case, make sure you know what fees must be paid into your estate.

Appointing an executor can prove to be a difficult task. If you are faced with naming an executor or have any questions for an estate planning lawyer, contact a seasoned and experienced California estate planning lawyer today.