Is your estate executor fit for the job?

close up picture of a man at his desk, working on a laptpop and a calculator.

Creating an estate plan is crucial in ensuring you protect your assets and preserve your legacy when you are gone. It can be uncomfortable to think about these things, but once you have documented your wishes, you can feel better knowing that you have a plan in place.

However, others may not have the same confidence if you have named an unfit person to serve as your executor. And ultimately, they are the ones who could pay the price for a representative’s failings. Thus, it is crucial to consider carefully who you name as the executor of your estate.

What does an executor do?

There are several tasks an executor may need to complete in their role. Some of the most common responsibilities include:

  • Making an inventory of the decedent’s debts and assets
  • Assigning valuations to property
  • Completing tax returns
  • Collecting debts
  • Notifying creditors and beneficiaries
  • Distributing property
  • Managing assets
  • Finalizing a person’s personal affairs

These duties can be fairly straightforward, or they could be highly complex depending on the size and value of an estate. The presence of a comprehensive estate plan will also affect the estate administration process.

Who would make a good executor?

With all this in mind, it can be crucial to name an appropriate party to fill this position. Because this person will have several responsibilities and must navigate legal, financial and personal issues, an effective candidate could be someone who is:

  • Trustworthy
  • Familiar with your wishes
  • Detail-oriented
  • Capable of navigating complicated relationships
  • Organized
  • Comfortable making financial decisions

This person must also make decisions based on the estate and your wishes, not on their own interests. Thus, you might not want to put these matters in the hands of someone with a gambling addiction, history of theft or difficult relationships with beneficiaries.

While this can be a complicated decision, it is important not to put it off too long. When someone passes away without naming an executor, the courts could appoint one, or interested parties could apply for a grant of administration.

Selecting the right person to fill this critical role can be vital in having a comprehensive estate plan that minimizes conflict during the administration process and protects your wishes.