Selecting an executor for your estate is a significant decision in the estate planning process. The executor of your estate manages and distributes your assets and completes other important tasks on your behalf.
Choosing the right executor isn’t a matter of simply appointing a close relative or friend. In fact, it’s best to talk to your preferred candidates to ensure they are willing and able to manage your estate. If your executor declines the responsibility after you’ve passed, the probate court may appoint an administrator.
The estate planning attorneys at Dworken & Bernstein encourage our clients to consider the following as they ponder the role of executor:
Trustworthiness and responsibility
Choosing an executor requires careful consideration of an individual’s trustworthiness and sense of responsibility. The executor will be entrusted with managing your financial affairs, paying debts and distributing assets according to the terms of your will or applicable laws.
The executor of your estate should also possess strong organizational skills to manage complex tasks such as filing legal documents, communicating with beneficiaries, and overseeing the distribution of assets.
Trust is paramount. Select an individual who is known for their reliability, honesty and commitment to fulfilling their duties with integrity.
Legal and financial acumen
The executor of your estate may be required to navigate legal and financial issues. Selecting an executor with a solid understanding of these aspects can streamline the process.
While not mandatory, possessing a basic understanding of probate law and estate administration processes is beneficial. This knowledge can help the executor make informed decisions and avoid potential pitfalls. Alternatively, you can appoint a professional, such as an estate attorney, to act as the executor of your estate.
Managing estate assets, debts and potential tax implications requires financial literacy. An estate executor should be comfortable managing financial matters, working with accountants and/or financial advisors if necessary.
The executor of your estate should be detail-oriented to ensure accuracy of financial records, inventory of personal items, and fulfilling legal requirements associated with your estate.
Open communication and diplomacy
Estate execution involves ongoing communication with grieving family members and possibly other beneficiaries named in the will. The ability to openly and diplomatically communicate with them throughout the process will help minimize misunderstandings. Well-informed beneficiaries foster trust and cooperation.
Conflicts may arise among beneficiaries or with creditors, therefore it is beneficial for the executor of your estate to possess effective conflict resolution skills in case of any disputes.
Estate planning ensures your assets are properly distributed to your loved ones according to your wishes and directives. It is never too early to plan ahead. Contact Dworken & Bernstein today to schedule a consultation with one of our highly experienced and personable estate planning attorneys.