In the process of making your will, you will have to make a lot of important decisions. Choosing an executor for your will is one of the most important decisions you will make. An executor of a will is any person appointed in a will by the testator to put into effect everything that is stated in the will. Appointing an executor in your will helps to ensure the prompt distribution of the estate and reduces the possibility of family friction in the event of your death. Where an executor is not appointed in a will, the court will have to appoint administrators for the estate. The process of appointing administrators of the estate takes longer than appointing executors chosen in the will. Thus, you should choose an executor for your will and ensure to state it in the will.
An executor holds a very sensitive position and so it is important that you take special care when choosing and appointing an executor in your will. Even though your wishes as stated in your will are simple, the duties of the executor or executors can be very complex. All these and more make choosing the right executor very important.
Duties of An Executor
Some of the duties of the executor you will choose includes but is not limited to:
- Filing court papers
- Taking an inventory of your estate for court records
- Using the estate funds to pay off your debts if any
- Paying for funeral costs
- Keeping records of accounts
- Finalizing taxes of the testator
- Notifying beneficiaries of their gifts under the will
- Transferring assets to your beneficiaries under the will
- Protect and preserve the properties in the estate
- Where the will is challenged, the executor might also have the task of defending the estate and maintaining it pending litigation
Who Can Be An Executor
Practically anybody can be an executor to your will. The only people generally disqualified from being executors are minors, felons and non – citizens. However, some state laws require that the executor should be a resident of that state. You will need to confirm the laws of your state of residence to be sure.
If you wish to name your child who is a minor as an executor of your will, you can state that the child can only act as an executor when the child gets to a certain age – the age of maturity.
Avoid choosing an executor that will be disqualified upon your death. This will defeat the purpose of naming the executors in your will and the court will have to appoint administrators.
Qualities a Good Executor Must Posses
An executor must possess certain qualities given all the responsibility that the executor will be assigned. You need to observe the person’s character to ensure that you are choosing a good executor.
- Honesty and integrity
- Good organizational skills
- Financially responsible
- Someone who follows instructions
- Emotionally resilient
Things to Consider When Choosing an Executor
Generally, when choosing executors, people tend to choose family members or close friends. Whoever you choose, however, it is important that the person is someone who can be objective and diplomatic. The person has to be able to handle the complexities of distributing the estate to the family and be able to handle it objectively.
Age and Medical Condition
It is ideal that your executor is someone who is younger than you. The duties of the executors begin after the death of the testator. So, the idea of choosing someone younger than you is that all things being equal, the person should be alive when you die.
It is also important for the proposed executor to be in a good health condition. It is possible for someone
It is important for you to get the consent of the executor before adding the executor’s name to your will. Execution of a will requires a lot of time and commitment. It is necessary for the executor to have a flexible schedule so it is easy to fit in the duties under the will. It is advisable for you to choose a person who does not have a very busy schedule.
The process of executing a will takes a while. This makes it important for you to choose an executor who is in the same city as you. If you choose someone in another city, the person will have to incur a lot of costs to travel and this cost will be charged to your estate. Aside from the cost, traveling regularly will stress the executor and this might discourage the executor from accepting the duties. In order to avoid that, choose an executor that resides in your city.
Willingness to Take Up the Responsibilities
It is important that you confirm the willingness of the proposed executor to take up the duties. There are a lot of responsibilities tied to accepting to be an executor. People know this and this causes people to sometimes reject the appointment. Where the executor named in the will chooses o renounce, the role will fall to the substitute executor where the testator named more than one executor. Where only one executor was named, the court will then follow the provisions of the Succession laws and proceed to appoint administrators of the estate.
You don’t your executor to refuse an appointment in the event of your death. This makes it important for you to discuss your choice with your proposed executor or executors and confirm their willingness to act.
You can name anyone you desire as the executor of your will. However, it is important for you to take certain steps to ensure that everything goes as planned in the event of your death. It is advisable that you name n executor who is not a beneficiary under the will so as to avoid any form of conflict of interest. Also, note that executors are not paid unless expressly stated in the will. Where your executor is not a beneficiary under the will, it is advisable that you make express provisions for payment as a reward for the work done. The duties of an executor are extensive so good compensation is not a bad idea.