Your Will may nominate an Executor to manage your estate.. 

What is an Executor?

An Executor has significant responsibilities related to the management and administration of the estate. These responsibilities can be a large undertaking and, in some cases, may be comparable to running a business. This may be a lot to handle for some people, particularly if you consider that this all takes place while grieving a death. 

Things to consider when choosing an Executor:

Considering the responsibilities, you should consider nominating an Executor that you trust and that you believe will be capable of handling responsibilities. Because an Executor is required to carry out the the terms of your Will, it may be helpful to select an Executor who knows you and whose judgment you trust. While there are no hard rules, here are some points you may wish to consider:

  • It may be helpful, but not necessary, to select an Executor that is comfortable handling the receipt and distribution of assets. 
  • An Executor may work with an attorney and/or accountant to delegate some of these responsibilities, so it may not be necessary for the Executor to handle everything alone. 
  • However, attorneys and accountants will increase the costs and expenses of administering the estate; this could ultimately reduce the amount distributed to your beneficiaries from your estate. 

When/how is the Executor appointed?

Typically, the court will appoint the Executor nominated in a Will. If the Executor nominated in a Will is unable or unwilling to serve as Executor, then the court may appoint a backup Executor, if one is nominated in the Will.  If there is no Executor nominated in a Will that is willing and able to serve as Executor, then the court will appoint someone else to serve in the same or similar role. This may be a surviving spouse or other close family member, adding to their burdens following your death.  It is important to nominate not only a primary Executor, but also several backup Executors to ensure that you have input in deciding who will manage the administration of your estate.

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