The executor’s role is critical to the administration of your estate and the achievement of your estate planning objectives. So your first instinct may be to name a trusted family member as executor. But that might not be the best choice.
Duties of an executor
Your executor will have a variety of important duties, including:
Typically, family members lack the skills and time to handle all of these tasks on their own. They’re entitled, of course, to hire accountants, attorneys, financial planners and other advisors — at the estate’s expense — for assistance. But even with professional help, serving as executor is a big job that requires a substantial time commitment during an already stressful period. Plus, if your executor is also a beneficiary of your will, other beneficiaries may view that as a conflict of interest.
So, what are your options? One is to name a trusted advisor, such as an accountant or lawyer, as executor. Another is to appoint an advisor and a family member as co-executors. The advisor would handle most of the executor’s day-to-day responsibilities, while your family member would oversee the process and ensure that the advisor acts in your family’s best interests. (However, be aware that naming co-executors may result in delays and other issues.)
If you still haven’t decided who you should appoint at your estate’s executor, discuss the issues with us. We’d be pleased to help you make the right decision based on your circumstances.