Role of the Executor
When you write you will, you will name someone to be the executor of your will. The executor (or executrix, if a woman) will take all the necessary steps to ensure your financial affairs are resolved and your estate is properly distributed.
While you might be tempted to name either your spouse or your lawyer, the job of being an executor can be lengthy and difficult. Consult with your estate planner to help you identify the best person for the job.
While your lawyer will have all of the knowledge to complete the task, the job may take a significant amount of time. You lawyer is going to be charging your estate for legal fees. If the estate is complicated, the cost of using your lawyer could be a drain on the total value of your estate.
The surviving spouse is another popular first choice to be the executor of the will. However, the list of responsibilities is long and many of the tasks take significant concentration and presence of mind. Not only will your spouse be grieving, but your spouse might be elderly and unable to complete some of the complicated responsibilities.
Your adult-aged children are typically good choices for the role. However, even this can be complicated as sibling rivalry can flare during the estate distribution process. The best choice could be a close family friend who will be able to maintain composure during this stressful and emotional time.
Here are a few of the responsibilities the executor will have to address:
- File your will with probate court and inform all interested parties (banks, credit cards, government) of your death
- Create a new bank account for the estate distribution process
- Inventory all assets and inform the court system
- Determine the appropriate probate choice
- Maintain property throughout probate and distribution, and pay all debts and taxes
- Distribute your assets, and dispose of any remaining property