Estate planning requires a person to evaluate many elements of their lives. It also encompasses a review of one’s inner circle or trusted resources when determining who to name as the executor of the estate.
Choosing an executor involves an evaluation of many traits and a clear understanding of the responsibilities the person will have when acting as the executor.
Fiduciary responsibilities of an executor
As explained by Kiplinger, the executor of an estate must manage a variety of financial events or transactions. These include, but may not be limited to, filing income tax returns, paying bills, collecting outstanding income owed to the decedent and overseeing the sale of property or other assets. An executor may handle these things directly or may hire a professional to assist with them.
An executor need not be wealthy or a financial professional but should be in good financial standing themselves and be capable of understanding financial terms and matters.
Asset distribution and potential conflicts
Forbes indicates that an executor manages the distribution of assets to all heirs. When any two or more heirs dispute the terms of a will, the executor must address the conflict. This requires the executor to be a person capable of maintaining calm in the face of disputes and prudently make decisions.
Some people find that naming siblings as co-executors may prevent disputes between family members some disputes are ultimately forms of sibling rivalries. By not providing one sibling with greater power, some of these conflicts may be avoided. Even if only one executor is named, identifying an alternate may be wise.