While no one likes to think about their death, everyone has to go at some point, and unfortunately, there are items we can’t take with us. To ensure your estate and other assets are in the proper hands after your death or incapacitation, you’ll want a comprehensive estate plan that includes a will executor. However, there are some factors you should consider before naming a will executor.
What Are a Will Executor’s Duties?
A will executor is responsible for making sure a person’s will is properly carried out. This party is also responsible for ensuring that their estate and assets are taken care of as well as dealing with the probate process.
Usually, an executor is named in the deceased’s will and sometimes even multiple parties are named. Instead of individuals, even entities like financial institutions can also be named. If the will doesn’t specify anyone, then the court might appoint a family member to be a will executor.
Some of a will executor’s duties might include:
- Keeping track of all the estate’s assets
- Getting the estate appraised
- Paying off any outstanding debts–mortgages, loans, credit card balances, etc.
- Paying funeral expenses
- Distributing assets to beneficiaries
What Are Some Qualities a Will Executor Should Possess?
Although it’s common for a beneficiary to be named as a will executor, this isn’t necessary, and sometimes might not even be recommended. Ultimately, you’ll want to name a person who’s trustworthy and reliable, and a beneficiary may not always fit the bill.
While naming a will executor who thoroughly understands your wishes is crucial, you’ll also want to name a will executor who has the following qualities:
- Financially responsible
- Is able to handle pressure
- Good at problem-solving
Additionally, it’s a good idea to name a will executor who has some business and/or legal experience especially if you’ll be leaving behind a large estate. However, not having such experience shouldn’t be an automatic disqualification. A good executor can make up for this lack of experience by seeking outside help such as an attorney or institution.
Other Considerations Before Naming a Will Executor
Before naming a will executor there are other considerations you should make. Some of these include:
- Speaking to the potential will executor beforehand – Sometimes will executor is named, but the person named doesn’t/can’t handle the responsibility. In this scenario, the party can renunciate their duties through the court system.
- Name an alternative will executor – Sometimes things happen and the party you name may not be able to handle their duties. Naming an alternative will executor can help avoid this issue.
- Have an attorney help with your estate planning – While even the strongest will can still end up being contested, having an attorney help you with every aspect of your estate planning can help you avoid this and other issues.
There are a lot of steps that go into estate planning and to ensure your wishes are properly carried out, naming a will executor should be a top priority. Contacting a probate lawyer can help with this process. Our friends at the Law Group of Iowa have a team of probate lawyers ready to assist!