Choosing the right executor — sometimes known as a “personal representative” — is critical to the smooth administration of an estate. An executor’s duties may include:
You don’t have to choose a professional executor or someone with legal or financial expertise. Often, family members can effectively perform the job, hiring professionals as needed (at the estate’s expense) to handle matters beyond their expertise. However, appointing a loved one can lead to problems. For example, if your executor stands to gain from the will, he or she may have a conflict of interest, which can lead to will contests or other disputes by disgruntled family members. If this is a concern, consider choosing an independent outsider as executor.
Regardless of whom you choose, designate at least one backup executor to serve in the event that your first choice dies or becomes incapacitated before it’s time to settle your estate.
If you have questions about whom you should consider as an executor, please contact us.