How To Choose an Executor – When searching for an executor, think about the tasks you’ll need that person to perform. In addition to dealing with everything from selling property and paying creditors to bringing lawsuits and reviewing medical records, executors need to know how to distribute assets to beneficiaries.
These are all very important jobs that should not be allocated to just anyone. That’s why taking your time to appoint a skilled individual as your executor is imperative.
So, what traits should you prioritize when seeking out an executor who is worth hiring? For starters, you’ll certainly want someone who is undeniably responsible.
People like attorneys, accountants and financial planners might come to mind. You’ll want to search for someone who will effectively communicate with your beneficiaries while also having what it takes to make difficult decisions when necessary.
Executors receive a commission for the work that they do. So, whom do you know who will take the role seriously rather than taking on responsibilities just for the pay they’ll receive? You can appoint a family member or loved one as an executor if you want to, though not everyone feels comfortable hiring someone they know on such a personal level.
If you prefer to hire a professional, keep in mind that they usually charge additional fees for their services. In other words, a professional executor may cost more than a friend or family member.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when hiring an executor for your estate:
- Consider people who are in good financial standing. Make sure they have suitable personal finances. You don’t want to hire someone who has creditors after them and liens tied to their name. At the same time, someone without a credit history isn’t ideal. Neither is anyone who has declared bankruptcy.
- Look for someone who pays close attention to the details. Ensure that this person will not be distracted by beneficiaries who try to influence outcomes or sway the executor into making certain decisions.
- You might think proximity is important, but executors do not necessarily need to live close to you. While they might prefer to make in-person visits in order to ensure that your personal property is properly distributed, an executor does not need to be local in order to meet with your estate attorney.
- You’ll want to find people who get along with others. You don’t want to appoint someone who is looking to exact revenge on another individual by causing delays, adding hardships or just being spiteful for the thrill of it.
- Try not to name someone who is disqualified. Avoid people with a criminal past, a lack of U.S. citizenship or a primary residence that is outside of the country. These are examples of people who cannot act as sole executors successfully.
- Look for someone who is patient in times of chaos and grounded in situations that are emotionally charged. Make sure the potential executor can handle the hard workload without hesitation.
Ensure your choice has the emotional balance necessary to uphold the responsibilities of this role while having the discretion to respond to beneficiaries with tough love when necessary. Before telling someone that you want them to act as the executor of your estate, always take a moment to ask if the person wants to uphold that role in the first place.
Make sure the executor candidate you are thinking about appointing is willing to perform the duties of an executor. Even the most simplistic or smooth-sailing of probates can be long and frustrating.
From seemingly arbitrary court requirements and delays when accessing apartment keys to a plethora of other headache-inducing situations, probate is not always an enjoyable experience. So, an executor must be ready to invest time and express patience along the way. It’s best to ensure that your preferred executor knows what he or she will be getting into ahead of time rather than being surprised.
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