Most people consider a will to be the cornerstone upon which a comprehensive estate plan is built. People often use a will to leave personal belongings and assets to family members, friends and charities. While a will helps account for the disposition of an individual’s assets, an executor must still ensure that a will’s directives are followed.
Upon drafting a will, an individual must name an executor. The role of executor is important and comes with many responsibilities. When making decisions about who to name as an executor, there are numerous factors that must be considered and weighed.
Frequently, an individual chooses to name a relative, friend or professional third-party to serve as an executor. This individual is responsible for ensuring that a will’s directives are followed and carried out to fruition. Additionally, they must take care of any outstanding financial matters related to estate taxes and debts.
As with most jobs in life, not everyone is well-suited to be an executor. Ideally, an individual in this position should be organized, honest, detail-oriented, a good communicator, patient and financially adept. In addition to possessing these qualities, they must also possess the character and fortitude to deal with numerous different personalities and to remain steadfast in his or her mission.
In addition to paying any outstanding estate taxes or debts, an executor is often also tasked with discovering and closing financial and other personal accounts, handling real estate matters, managing and overseeing the allocation of personal effects, filing income taxes and paying any applicable fees.
Source: AARP.org, “5 Things to Know About Being an Executor,” Carole Fleck, May 6, 2013
FindLaw.com, “Checklist: The Executor’s Role,” March 23, 2015
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