When writing a will, you will need to make several important designations. One decision is the will executor, or the person to carry out your last wishes with regard to your property and possessions.
What Does a Will Executor Do?
Simply put, an executor manages a person’s assets and debts after he or she is gone. This person ensures debts and creditors are paid off and the remaining assets are distributed per their wishes. More specifically, a will executor may need to do some or all of the following:
- Identify the deceased person’s assets and keep them safe.
- Determine if probating the will in court or at least filing it is necessary.
- Notify the beneficiaries in the will.
- Conclude any of the deceased’s financial affairs with banks, mortgages, the IRS, credit card companies, and so on.
- Set up a bank account for the estate.
- Pay necessary taxes, if any.
- Distribute the property per the instructions in the will.
An executor does not need to be a lawyer or financial expert. The law does require the designated person to act in good faith to fulfill his or her duties as outlined in the will.
Choosing a Will Executor
Who should be in charge of carrying out your last wishes regarding your property? One option is to choose a trusted friend or family member to serve as will executor.
Another approach is to choose an independent, paid executor who has no potential conflict of interest. The American Bar explains that some people avoid naming family members or business partners as their will executors. Doing so helps lessen contests from disgruntled relatives.
You also have the option to appoint co-executors to serve in different capacities based on their strengths and location. Co-executors might be a mix of friends, business associates, and/or family members who can work together to carry out your wishes.
No matter whom you choose, there are a few important qualities to look for:
- Capability: Is the person able to take on this big responsibility?
- Organization: Will he or she efficiently handle the asset and debt allocation, file tax returns, and take on other tasks?
- Perseverance: Can this person deal with any issues that arise with beneficiaries, creditors, and the court?
It’s important to consider naming a replacement executor in the event the original named executor dies or is unwilling to take on the task.
Our team at Bort Law understands the importance of crafting a customized will that will ensure your executor is able to carry out your wishes. If you are ready to draft your will, we can help. Contact Bort Law to get started on the right track.