One of the most important decisions you will face when creating your estate plan is who to choose as your Executor.
An Executor’s job is to make sure that the terms of your Will are carried out in a timely fashion. To accomplish this, your Executor has several duties, which include identifying and determining the value of your assets as of the time of your death, collecting all assets of the estate, paying debts, expenses, and taxes, if any, and distributing the remainder to the heirs. An Executor must also complete various filings with the Probate Court to apprise the Court of the status of the estate administration.
How competently and timely these duties are carried out can have a significant impact on how quickly and accurately an estate is administered, so choosing the right person to serve in this role is very important.
What are some of the most important considerations when choosing an Executor?
They key to being a good Executor is taking the duties it entails seriously. An effective Executor understands that their actions can have a significant impact on how quickly and accurately the estate is administered. This individual must be willing to be diligent in the identification and distribution of assets, and timely in their interaction with the Court.
An Executor that resides in the same geographical area in which your Estate will be administered, while not required, is generally preferable. Access to real property, personal property and financial records, as well as being able to swiftly execute and file documents with the Court or complete in-person transactions with financial institutions, often makes for a quicker estate administration.
Familiarity with Technology
With the rise of electronic banking, many account statements and the like are delivered electronically. A tech-savvy Executor can save significant administration time by knowing how to quickly access financial records available on-line, rather than having to request information from financial institutions by other means.
Age and Health Status
A potential Executor that otherwise checks off all the above boxes might be limited by their age or health status. The key question is: does the potential Executor’s age and health status hamper their ability to carry out their duties? If so, then this person is not a good candidate. If you’re unsure, you may consider also naming as Successor Executor someone whose age and health status are not a concern.