A lot goes into planning your California estate, even if you plan to use nothing more than a basic will. From deciding what type of estate planning vehicle to use to determine who will get what, the decisions you must make when end-of-life planning can be overwhelming. One decision many individuals struggle with involves naming an executor for their will. If you do not know how to go about choosing an executor for your will, use these guidelines from FindLaw to help you identify the right person.
The role of the executor is to take care of any remaining financial obligations of the deceased. The typical duties of an executor include paying bills on the estate’s behalf, paying estate taxes, distributing assets according to the will and maintaining property until the resolution of all estate-related matters. The executor will also make court appearances on the estate’s behalf.
Though there are no rules about who you can select to execute your will, you should give the matter careful consideration and be deliberate in your choice. Because the responsibilities are vast and entail taking care of many important issues, you want to select a person whom you trust. Moreover, you should choose someone who is organized and able to communicate clearly with several parties. Though wills are simple, the distribution of one can quickly become messy if not done by a person who possesses these key traits.
In addition to looking for someone who is honest, organized and able to communicate clearly, there are other important considerations you should make before selecting an executor. One is family dynamics. Who you choose may lead to fighting and will contests, as the unchosen individuals may construe your choice as favoritism.
Another factor to consider is location. Executing a will is often a slow-going process that involves court appearances, property maintenance and back and forth correspondence. If the executor does not live near the majority of assets, distributing your will may place undue stress on him or her.
Finally, try to choose someone who stands to inherit a significant amount of property under your will. Self-interest goes a long way toward motivating individuals to maintain property and efficiently handle estate administration matters.
You should not use this article as legal advice. It is for your educational purposes only.