When you are creating a will or updating an existing one, one decision you will need to make is whom to name as the executor of your will. This person performs an important job for you after your death, so it is important to pick the right person.
What Is an Executor?
An executor of your estate is the person you appoint to distribute your assets according to your wishes that are stated in your will and to take care of your other financial responsibilities. An executor is also referred to as the personal representative. Some of the duties this person must perform include:
- Distributing your assets according to the terms of your will
- Paying bills for your estate
- Maintaining property until it is transferred
- Paying real estate taxes, insurance, and mortgage payments on real estate
- Selling real estate and other assets
- Keeping detailed records of assets and expenses of the estate
- Attending court hearings
Tips on Whom to Pick as an Executor of Your Estate
Most people pick family members, such as spouses or adult children to be the personal representative of their estate. This can be a good choice as long as they can perform the required duties and will honor your wishes. Here are some tips on whom to select:
- Pick a responsible person. You should select a person who is responsible, can communicate with other heirs, and can make hard decisions if necessary. While he does not need to be an expert in finances, he should be financially responsible and understand the importance of attention to detail. If you do not have a family member or friend that you feel comfortable appointing, you can select a lawyer or financial institution. Keep in mind that they would charge a fee for their services.
- Select an alternate. It is a good idea to appoint an alternate person who can step in as executor if your first choice dies before you or is unable to assume these duties. If possible, pick someone younger as the alternate.
- Consider the location of your executor. While it is not essential to pick someone who lives near you as your executor, it can be more convenient if you do so. A local person would be better able to maintain your property and have an easier time attending required court hearings than someone who lives out of state.
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