Planning Your Estate? What to Ask Before You Name an Executor

Choosing the executor for your will is a critical decision. The person you choose will be responsible for managing your assets after your death, ensuring that your debts are paid in full and that your property is distributed according to your wishes.

Here are some things to consider before making this important decision.

Is the Person You Are Considering Responsible?

The role of an executor is demanding, requiring time, energy, and a high degree of responsibility. The executor will have to carry out many tasks, such as filing your last tax return, managing your property, paying off debts, and distributing your assets. It’s important to choose someone responsible, organized, and able to commit to their duties and responsibilities as the executor.

Financial Literacy

The executor of a will must be financially literate, or they may have difficulty carrying out their estate administration tasks. A basic understanding of financial matters can be a major asset for an executor. If your estate is particularly large or complex, it might be beneficial to appoint your estate planning attorney in Santa Rosa or a family member who knows the basics of estate planning as the executor.

Integrity and Trustworthiness

Given that the executor will be in charge of your assets after your death, you should choose someone you trust to manage your property according to your wishes. An impartial and fair executor with a strong sense of integrity can help prevent conflicts among your heirs and ensure that your estate is distributed fairly.

Availability and Willingness

An executor has several time-consuming tasks. Therefore, it is important to choose someone who has enough time on their hands to perform their duties as the executor. You will also want to consider the potential executor’s location. If they live close by, it may be easier for them to manage your estate, particularly if most of your assets are physical assets.

Willingness to Serve

Not everyone is willing or able to take on the role of executor. Before you name someone as the executor of your will, it’s important to have a conversation with them to make sure they are willing and able to take on the responsibility.

Conflict Resolution Skills

Depending on the nature of your estate and the potential beneficiaries, there may be disputes and disagreements about the distribution of your assets. A good executor will be able to handle these conflicts objectively and diplomatically. Also, a good executor never favors one beneficiary over others.

It’s a good idea to name an alternate executor if your first choice cannot serve as the executor. This helps ensure that your wishes are carried out even if circumstances change.

Johnston & Associates is a leading law firm in Santa Rosa. No matter how complicated your estate is, our estate planning attorneys can help you manage it. To learn more, call (707) 545-6542.