Many clients we work with have a pretty good idea who they would name to be the executor or trustee of their estate. It is usually someone they are close to, such as their spouse, a family member, or even a close friend, and there is typically a great deal of trust that this person can handle what is expected of either role. Whether your estate is large or small, simple or complex, being an executor or trustee takes time and effort.
Even if the person you choose sees it as an honor to have been chosen, they may not understand what is expected of an executor or trustee. Therefore, you will want to choose wisely, so your affairs are handled properly when the time comes.
So what is expected, exactly?
The best way to begin the task of choosing who will act on your behalf is to think about the tasks they will perform. Below is a brief list of what is typically expected:
- Determine what assets are in the estate. This includes bank accounts, physical property (home, cars, investment property, etc.), insurance policies, retirement funds, and business holdings.
- Determine who the heirs are and get detailed contact information for each. If the executor or trustee is not an attorney, they will probably need to secure legal help to begin the probate process. If you have an estate planning attorney, be sure to leave that person’s contact information for your executor or trustee.
- Pay any bills owed, including funeral expenses.
- File necessary tax reports and pay taxes.
- Distribute the estate to beneficiaries according to the will.
Start narrowing your search!
Looking at this list, you can already narrow your choices by considering who would have the necessary time and ability to take on such a task. It does not have to be someone who already knows how to do all of these jobs. But it does need to be someone who can figure out which matters to tackle on their own and which ones will require help. This should be someone you know to be honest, ethical, and detail oriented.
The next step is to decide whether you want a family member or not. Choosing a family member as your executor or trustee may be the easiest and least expensive choice, but you might want to avoid it if it is going to cause problems between the various heirs in your family. If this is the case, you may want to choose someone outside the family.
Call Leigh Hilton PLLC today!!
Call Leigh Hilton PLLC in Denton, and we will help walk you through all of your estate planning needs. We have ample experience and will take into consideration your particular situation. Proper planning of an estate, whether through a Will, Trust, or both, helps ensure your wishes are carried out.
Leigh Hilton PLLC wants to be your first call every time for any estate planning need. We look forward to serving you.
Thanks for reading!