Estate planning is one of those life events that many people put off doing. Many do so in part because they find it challenging to determine whom to chose as the executor of their estate.
The selection of an executor is a critical decision. That person will be responsible for inventorying your assets, notifying your beneficiaries and creditors of your passing, filing your final tax return, settling your debts and distributing anything in your estate to beneficiaries.
There are a few primary points you’ll want to discuss with your executor candidate to see if they’d feel comfortable taking on this role.
Prepare them for what their role will entail
Many prospective executors get the impression that all they need to do is file your will in probate court. Their role involves far more than that, though.
Filing your will with the court is only the first responsibility they have. You should prepare your executor for the fact that they’ll likely be traveling back and forth to the courthouse to deliver several documents. You should also prepare them for the likelihood that they’ll spend a lot of time on the phone closing accounts.
You’ll want to make sure that whomever you select for this role is trustworthy and has a good track record of following through with things, even when they become tedious or they’re getting nothing out of doing so.
Another detail that you may want to discuss with your prospective executor is whether they’ve held a similar position before and additional information about their experience in managing others’ money. You’ll want the person you ultimately select for this role to be rational enough to make sense of the information that they receive. They shouldn’t be someone who’s easily swayed, especially when dealing with emotional heirs or ones looking to make special requests.
Your estate planning attorney can aid you in your understanding of the role of an executor so that you can choose the best person and help them determine whether they are up to the task.