Washington DC Estate Planning: How to Choose an Executor for Your Will
When drafting your will, one of the most important decisions you have to make is who to name as your estate’s executor. After you pass away, the executor will essentially step into your shoes, which means this individual can perform legal tasks that you would have previously handled. This person can sell real estate, pay off your creditors, distribute assets to beneficiaries, review medical records, and more. It’s an important position with a lot of responsibility, which is why it’s so important to take this decision seriously.
Here are several helpful tips to consider when deciding on an executor:
Choose Someone Who Is Responsible
If you had to pick an executor based on one factor only, let it be based on how responsible the person is. This is the most important quality your executor should have. Executors don’t have to be accountants, attorneys, or some financial expert to administrate your estate, they just need to be responsible enough to hire qualified people as needed, know how to address any issues that arise, be a good communicator, and not be afraid to stand up to beneficiaries who challenge the process.
Pick Someone Who Has Their Own Finances Together
Your executor should be someone who has financial stability. Don’t choose someone who mismanages their own money and has liens against them, a bad credit history, too many creditors, etc.
Ensure Your Choice of Executor is Qualified
Don’t pick someone who has no chance of being accepted by the court. Courts typically won’t approve an executor they don’t have any jurisdiction over. Who would be disqualified? Anyone with a criminal past is highly unlikely to qualify, as are people living outside of the United States. You cannot have an executor who is under 18 years old either.
Think About Someone Who is Patient and Avoids Drama
Being an executor is not an easy responsibility, especially in situations with large estates and a lot of beneficiaries. You need an executor who can be patient and not let the emotional turmoil affect how they do the job. If you are considering someone who is always in the middle of family drama, it might be better to opt for someone else who can diffuse tense situations, not fuel the fire.
Choosing a Family Member or a Professional?
You are not obligated to choose a family member or even a named beneficiary in your will to be the executor. And, you can name multiple executors to serve as well. There is also the option to choose a professional executor if you are concerned about naming someone to be responsible or about creating dissension between remaining family members. A professional executor will charge for their services, but it may provide peace of mind to know that someone neutral will be handling your estate.
If you have questions about choosing an executor or need assistance with other aspects of estate planning, it’s important to speak with a Washington DC estate planning attorney. Contact Tobin O’Connor & Ewing at 202-362-5900 to schedule a consultation. Let one of our skilled attorneys assist with all your estate planning needs.