If you’ll be seeing your adult children over the next couple weeks, the holiday get-together may be a good opportunity to discuss your estate planning needs and goals. Specifically, you may want to discuss who will serve as executor of your estate.
Your executor does not have to be a family member, but many people do choose a son, daughter or a spouse. In today’s post, we’ll discuss what an executor’s responsibilities are and what qualities you should look for when making your choice.
In short, the executor of an estate is the person responsible for attending to final financial matters, wrapping up financial loose ends and ensuring that assets are distributed correctly. The person you choose should be honest, responsible, organized and willing to take on duties of the job.
Hopefully, your intended heirs and bequeathed property will be clearly laid out in your will. It will be the executor’s job to make sure that your assets and property are located, your intended heirs are contacted and your assets/property are distributed according to the will.
The executor will also be responsible for attending to your final financial matters. This could include paying off creditors and debts, cancelling your credit cards, paying final income taxes and contacting the Social Security Administration and any other institutions that need to be informed of your death.
As a general rule, a larger estate with a more complex estate plan will result in more duties for the executor (compared to a smaller and simpler estate). No matter who you choose, you may want to put them in touch with your estate planning attorney, who can serve as a resource for any questions or problems they may have.