At some point along your estate planning journey, you must name a trusted agent to manage your affairs after you die. In a best-case scenario, you can choose someone with prior estate executor experience, but this is not an option for many.
First-time estate executors are often unprepared for the enormity of their responsibilities. If you can’t find someone with experience, you can help your chosen candidate know what to expect.
Duties executors perform
When choosing from your estate executor candidates, it is wise to speak with them and explain how estate administration works. Below are seven typical duties to share with your candidates.
- Start the probate process
- Close out financial affairs
- Locate and secure all your assets
- Pay off your debts and taxes
- Have property and real estate valued accurately
- Locate your beneficiaries
- Distribute property to beneficiaries
By sharing this information with your candidates, they have an opportunity to determine if they can perform these duties. If they cannot, continue to the next person on your list.
The role of executor usually requires a significant time commitment, making availability a critical characteristic. Be sure to ask your candidates if they have enough time to act as your estate executor.
Name a co-executor or alternate
It may make you feel better to know that you can name a co-executor to share the estate administration duties. You may also name an alternate to step in and handle your estate if your first choice cannot.
If you cannot find a suitable candidate, consider retaining a professional executor to handle the administration of your estate. With experienced legal guidance, you can make the best possible choice for your estate and help minimize unnecessary issues for them as you develop your estate plan.