Nancy F. Slater (Retired)

What should you look for in an executor for your estate?

On Behalf of | Jun 2, 2021 | Estate Planning |

Estate planning may seem like a daunting process. It doesn’t have to be, though.

Some pre-planning can help the process move along seamlessly. One thing that you can pre-plan for is who will be your estate’s executor (sometimes known as a personal representative). You’ll want to ensure that the person you select for this role has specific attributes.

A “closer” mentality

Your executor will have a lot of responsibilities to carry out once you pass away, including:

  • Filing your will with the probate court
  • Notifying your heirs and creditors of your passing.
  • Rounding up your assets and safeguarding them
  • Paying your creditors
  • Filing your final tax return(s)
  • Distributing your estate’s assets to your heirs and beneficiaries

You can’t expect just anyone to follow through in doing these things. It has to be someone who’s responsible.

Financial responsibility

The person you select should also be fiscally responsible. They must pay any necessary bills and keep an accurate accounting of what they do. They must always act in the best interest of the estate instead of engaging in self-dealing. They may be held liable for squandered assets if they fail to do as they should.

Other attributes that are helpful to have

Younger executors may be better than older ones in that you may have less of an expectation of them dying before you. You may also want to select someone local since they’ll need to spend weeks or months handling various matters.

Selecting an executor should be a priority before you sit down to draft a will. You may find it helpful to consult with an estate planning attorney once you shortlist a few candidates for this role. They may be able to provide you with some questions to ask the people you’re considering – starting with whether they want the job — to help ensure that you make the right selection.