No one likes to face their own mortality, but it’s important that you are prepared for anything that can happen when it comes to your assets and your financial future. Protecting your assets and your family become vitally important if something happens to you, and a big part of that is choosing an executor who will carry out your wishes. The process doesn’t have to be stressful or complex. Although it can initially seem overwhelming, these tips and guidelines can help you to simplify one of the most important decisions you can make in your life.
An executor is someone who is legally responsible to handle any of your remaining financial obligations once you have passed. The executor is typically named in your will, and the court appoints him or her to the position. This individual may be asked to pay taxes on your estate, pay any remaining bills on the estate, distribute your assets per your will, maintain any property until everything is settled or make estate-related court appearances. All these duties are paid for by the estate itself, so the executor does not need the money personally to cover the costs.
Making the choice
You can basically choose anyone you want to be an executor, but you may want to consider a few qualities when doing so. An executor should be located close to the estate to attend court appearances. Your executor should be someone you trust to be honest, organized and good at communicating. It may be a benefit to name an executor who stands to receive a large inheritance, as such a person is more likely to keep up the property and assets if they will eventually be granted to him or her.
The most common executors are usually children, siblings or spouses. After you are gone, your family members may feel hurt or upset by the person you choose and may see it as a judgment on their worthiness to handle your assets. Before you name the executor in your will, it is always a good idea to discuss the option with your chosen person to ensure that he or she is on board and ready to take on the job.
Some states have restrictions on out-of-state executors, and you can never name anyone under the age of 18 as an executor. Felons are also prohibited from handling your assets after you die.
Your will and estate plan involve some of the most important decisions you can make in your life. If you want to have an organized, foolproof estate plan and executor in place, it may benefit you to speak to an attorney.