Creating a will is usually one of the first steps someone takes during the estate planning process. A well-drafted will can ensure that your assets are properly distributed according to your wishes and allow you to name an executor for your will. The effectiveness of your will does not rest solely on its contents but also depends on who you choose to be your executor. An executor is the person responsible for overseeing the administration of your estate. They are responsible for hiring the probate attorney and tax professionals and ensuring everything runs smoothly. Your executor will also distribute your assets to your beneficiaries and field any legal challenges to the estate. Choosing your executor is one of the most important decisions you will make regarding your estate. This article will discuss the intricacies of working with an executor, choosing the best person for the job, and the responsibilities of your executor.
An executor has an important job and will be entrusted with managing your estate after your pass away. This individual will be in charge of many tasks and activities regarding your estate and everything that must be done to complete the procedure. The process can take time and be stressful for your executor, so choosing someone with the mental fortitude who can handle it and will stick with it until the job is complete is important.
The executor of your estate acts as a point of contact between beneficiaries, creditors, and the legal system. Your executor will be responsible for hiring the attorney to represent your estate and will work with them to help them obtain the information they need. Your executor’s role will extend far beyond legal paperwork and into mediating among family members who may not fully agree with your wishes and keeping beneficiaries informed on the status.
Choosing the right person to serve as the executor of your will is one of the most important decisions you will make regarding your estate, so it’s important to consider your choice fully. This is not the time to simply give the assignment to a family member just because they ask you or offer to help, it should be someone with the mental fortitude to handle your estate from start to finish. Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing your executor:
- Time Commitment: Administering an estate can be extremely time-consuming. Your executor may need to make a number of phone calls and meet with professionals to ensure everything goes smoothly. You will want to choose someone with time to dedicate to your estate.
- Ability to Work With Others: Executors must work with a number of people, such as beneficiaries, attorneys, and tax professionals, to get the job done. Your executor must work well with others and not get frustrated with people easily.
- Financial Literacy: Administering an estate will require some financial decisions. Your executor should be comfortable with banking, insurance, and working with tax and financial professionals. They should at least have a basic understanding of finance.
- Well-Organized: Executors deal with large amounts of legal paperwork, so they must be well-organized and able to provide an accounting of everything they do. The court or beneficiaries may require an accounting, and your executor must be able to keep detailed records.
Once you have chosen your executor, you will want to explain their duties and responsibilities to them. The amount of work your executor will have to manage depends on the complexity of your estate, the type of assets you own, and the instructions you include in your will. This is a good time to speak to an estate planning attorney to ensure your wishes and instructions to your executor are clear and there is no room for alternative interpretations, which could lead to legal challenges. Here are some common duties for executors:
- Open the Succession: Your executor will begin the process by opening your succession and probating your will with the court. The executor has no authority until the court names him or her as your executor.
- Communication: Executors communicate with your beneficiaries and your estate’s attorney. They will be the point of contact for a number of people and professionals.
- Asset Inventory: The court will require your executor to file a detailed descriptive list that names your property and the value of each item.
Choosing an executor for your will is not easy and should be taken seriously. It’s important to speak with an estate planning attorney to help you with the details and to ensure you don’t miss anything.
Progeny Law Firm helps clients with estate planning in Baton Rouge, LA. Call (225) 465-1090 or contact us online for a free consultation.
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