Writing Your Will? How to Choose the Executor of Your Estate
Choosing whom to name as the executor in your last will and testament is a critical decision. This person will be responsible for carrying out your final wishes, settling your debts, and distributing your assets.
As such, it’s imperative to give the selection considerable thought. If you’re unsure where to start, here are a few tips for narrowing down the options:
1. Review the Executor’s Responsibilities
Before giving someone the role, it’s important that you understand the duties that come with it. This will ensure the individual you select can actually handle the tasks that come with settling your estate.
The executor will be responsible for:
- Filing your last will and testament with the probate court,
- Paying your debts and taxes,
- Distributing assets to your beneficiaries, and
- Filing estate tax returns if necessary.
2. Prioritize Trustworthiness
The executor should be someone whom you trust to carry out your last wishes. They should possess honesty and integrity, and they should be willing to assert their authority if any disputes arise.
3. Look for Someone Who Is Financially Responsible
The executor must be equipped to manage your final affairs effectively. This includes paying all debts and taxes on time. They may also have to oversee the liquidation of various assets prior to distribution. With that in mind, you’re going to want to choose someone who is well-versed at navigating complex financial transactions.
4. Consider Logistics
Since life is ultimately unpredictable, there’s no way to be sure that the person whom you name as the executor of your estate will outlive you. Generally speaking, though, it’s wise to choose someone who’s younger than you and in fairly decent health. This is why younger siblings and adult children are popular choices.
It’s worth noting that many people choose their spouses for the sake of simplicity. Keep in mind, however, that if you end up outliving your husband or wife, you’re going to have to update your own estate plan.
Availability is another important element to consider. Settling an estate is a demanding job, so you don’t want to choose someone who travels all the time for work or otherwise has very little free time to begin with.
5. Name a Backup Executor
Even if you put considerable thought in your selection, there’s no guarantee that the person whom you choose will be willing or able to settle your estate upon your death. As such, it’s wise to name a backup. That way, you’ll have peace of mind knowing your estate will be in good hands even if an issue regarding your first choice does arise.
Call 231-946-0700 to Speak with an Estate Planning Attorney in Michigan
Once you’ve decided on an executor, turn to Smith & Johnson for help writing your last will and testament. Our team can assist with every aspect of estate planning, so you can ensure your loved ones are protected in all eventualities. Call 231-946-0700 or submit our Contact Form to schedule a free initial consultation with an estate planning lawyer in Michigan.