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How to Choose an Executor for Your Estate

An executor is in charge of your estate after your passing, and they serve to honor the terms of your will and final wishes. Often, people ask family members such as children or spouses to serve as an executor, but this may not always be the best choice. Your estate’s unique needs will determine the type of person you should choose to be the executor of your estate.

The responsibilities of an executor include:

  • Beginning the probate process by filing court papers.
  • Taking inventory of the estate.
  • Using estate funds to settle bills, taxes, final expenses, and other costs.
  • Terminating credit cards.
  • Notifying banks, financial agencies, and the necessary government agencies of your death.
  • Preparing and filing final income tax returns.
  • Distributing assets to beneficiaries.

Who Should You Choose for Your Executor?

Many people choose a family member to become the executor of their will. Often, a child or a spouse is the preferred individual, but if they are not capable of the task, you may need to find another person who is more suited to the job. The executor of your estate will have many duties, so it is important to choose an individual who can handle the demands of the job.

Several factors should be considered when making your choice. Your chosen individual will need to survive you in order to serve as executor. They should also be an organized, honest person who can meet the necessary deadlines, handle large amounts of paperwork, and is detail-oriented. This person will be responsible to ensure that your final wishes are carried out, so it is important that you feel they are trustworthy. Your estate may be used to cover any associated costs of an attorney or accountant if your executor requires help settling your estate.

If you feel that you have no relatives or friends who are up to the task, you can also choose a third party to handle the estate. These parties can include a bank, trust company, or estate planning professional. For a fee, these institutions or individuals will serve as executor. As a neutral third party with the necessary knowledge and experience, estate planning attorneys are frequently an excellent choice for a professional executor.

Naming Your Executor & Seeking Legal Guidance

Once you have made your choice, discuss your decision with the chosen person. You will need their permission before naming them in your will as executor. If they grant permission, be sure to discuss your desires for your estate and your financial details. They will also need to know where any documents related to your estate are kept, including your will. When the time comes, it will be easier for them to carry out your wishes.

Planning for the end of your life can be a complex process. Our Phoenix estate planning attorneys can help you prepare for the future. At Taylor & Lihn, PLLC, we offer personalized service when planning estates, or even acting as an executor, backed by more than 30 years of collective experience. Contact our office today by calling (602) 900-9860 to schedule a no-cost consultation.

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