Four Factors to Consider When Selecting an Executor for Your Estate

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Four Factors to Consider When Selecting an Executor for Your Estate

By: Barry E. Haimo, Esq.
September 13, 2018

Four Factors to Consider When Selecting an Executor for Your Estate

When you write a last will and testament, one of the most important choices you will make is selecting an executor for your estate.

Your executor (also known as a “personal representative”) takes on all of the duties of documenting, handling, and distributing your estate after you pass away. This can be a big job, especially if you have a large estate, a high number of assets, or a large sum of debts that will need to be paid after your death.

The following factors can have a big impact on a person’s ability to take on executor duties and properly handle your estate in a way that is timely and fair to your beneficiaries.

Residence and Legal Restrictions

Florida has legal restrictions on who can and cannot be your executor.

For example, felons or minors cannot be appointed as an executor, no matter what their relationship is to the deceased. The person must also be mentally and physically capable of taking on the duties of an executor.

It will be more convenient for you and the executor if they live in Florida. Legally, this does not have to be the case if the executor is a family member or the spouse of a family member.

Individuals are typically named as the executor, but the following can also be appointed, provided they are a fiduciary in the state of Florida:

  • Bank
  • Trust company
  • Savings and loan association

If you have questions about your executor’s ability to serve, consult a Florida estate planning attorney.

Reliability

The process of providing the right documents, contacting creditors, and dividing an estate can take a lot of time. This process also comes with deadlines.

If you have hesitations about your potential executor’s ability to make these deadlines, you might want to choose a different person. If the deadlines are not met, your family and beneficiaries will have to face the consequences.

Emotional Impact of Your Death

A spouse or child may seem like an obvious choice for executor, but this is not always a great idea. If the person is overwhelmed with emotions and stress after your death, the added responsibilities of an executor may be too much to handle.

Before you name someone as an executor, ask for their permission, and have a conversation about whether they think they can handle the duties in a timely manner.

Financial Knowledge

After a person dies, the executor has to do more than just collect all of their assets and add up their value. If the executor thinks that any of the assets will decrease in value by the time the assets have to be distributed, they are also responsible for selling those items.

Executors can consult a Florida estate planning attorney to get a better idea of which assets should be sold and which should be kept after death. But it helps all parties if the executor has some financial knowledge at the start.

Additionally, if the executor has more in-depth knowledge of the deceased’s specific financial information, they will be more prepared to deal with creditors. Creditors may come forward for up to two years after a person has died to make a claim on the estate.

Take the Decision of Selecting an Executor Seriously

In the end, it is your choice. Choose a person that you trust with your estate. If you have any further questions or would like to give your executor appropriate resources, reach out to a Florida estate planning attorney.

Author:
Barry E. Haimo, Esq.
Haimo Law
Strategic Planning With Purpose®
Email: barry@haimolaw.com
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