No part of the estate planning process is one-size-fits-all, and that includes selecting an executor. The role of an executor, sometimes known as a personal representative, can be challenging. When people write their wills and other estate planning documents, it’s important they know what to expect, and which of their friends, relatives and associates will be up to the task.
Things to consider
There are several things to consider when selecting an executor. Selecting someone who you can trust is a good place to start. In addition, it is helpful if the executor has good organizational skills because they will have to manage everything from filing the estate planner’s will with the court to paying debts and taxes, closing accounts and distributing assets to beneficiaries.
In addition, the executor should be able to juggle different priorities and make the time commitment necessary to manage the estate. Accomplishing all this could potentially last up to 16 months or longer. They do not necessarily need to have expertise in areas of finance or law, but they should know how to access professional expert resources as necessary. A professional executor can also be named if there is no friend or family member who is available. Naming co-executors is also a possibility, but it’s important that anyone you name as co-executors can work well together.
It is also important to keep in mind that designations made in an estate plan can be updated. If you need to revisit them, you can do that. An estate planning attorney can help you understand your options and guide you through the process. A good attorney can also help you keep your plan up to date.