Executors may have to handle disputes associated with the estate planner’s estate which is why it is important to carefully select an executor. As part of the process of designating an executor, it is useful to know what to take into account to determine who will make a good executor for the estate planner’s estate.
Helpful attributes for an executor to have
There are several useful attributes for an executor to have that the estate planner may want to take into account when selecting one including:
- Highly responsible:
- Possess a strong attention to detail;
- Familiarity working with financial professionals but does not necessarily need to be a financial professional themselves;
- Possess maturity;
- Old enough but not so old they will not outlive the estate planner;
- Familiarity with the estate planner’s values and family situation;
- The executor does not necessarily have to live near but probably should not live overseas; and
- The ability to be fair and equitable to the beneficiaries.
Duties of an executor
The duties of an executor can be extensive and time consuming and may last for up to two years. The executor may be required to track down and account for the estate planner’s assets and liabilities. They may also need to provide the will to the court for the probate process. Additionally, the executor may have to manage tax elections, tax filings and court accountings of income and expenses. The executor may also have the responsibility of obtaining valuations for real estate, business assets and other financial assets. The estate planner is also likely to have to arbitrate family disputes as some point during the process.
It is important to keep in mind that an executor is a fiduciary having certain duties and is responsible for managing every aspect of the estate.
Estate planning can be a complex process at many points including selecting an executor and administering the estate. For that reason, estate planners should carefully consider who they choose as executor and what to base that decision on.