How to Choose an Executor
When you create a will, you will make decisions like who your assets are left to and who will take legal guardianship of your children. You also have to choose an executor of your will. If this is your first time creating a will, this could be an unfamiliar term. An executor is simply a person you designate to handle your estate after your death. Even if you don’t have a large estate, an executor is very important to distribute your estate smoothly and effectively. Therefore, there are qualities you should consider when choosing an executor.
What is an Executor?
Before we can discuss how to choose an executor, you should know what goes into an executor and the legal requirements in Florida to be an executor. As previously stated, an executor manages your estate after your death. They will handle many responsibilities in the probate process like legal affairs, paying off creditors, and distributing property to beneficiaries. An executor’s exact duties will be dependent on your specific estate.
In the state of Florida, an executor must:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Never been convicted of a felony
- Be physically and mentally capable of performing executor responsibilities
- A Florida resident, unless the executor is related to you by blood, adoption, or marriage
Even though an out-of-state family member can serve as your executor, it might be a good idea to choose someone that lives in Florida or can easily travel to the state frequently. In the immediate months after your death, the executor will need to handle many duties in person. Now that you have basic qualifications, let’s dive into choosing an executor best for your estate.
Essential Qualities of an Executor
You probably have many people in your life that meet the legal qualifications to serve as an executor, but not everyone would be a good fit. Therefore, it’s wise to receive guidance from an estate planning attorney on who would fulfill these duties responsibly. Generally speaking, here are some essential qualities of an executor.
After your death, an executor will handle many documents, phone calls, in-person meetings, and finances. Therefore, you will want an executor who has already shown they are organized and has good project management skills. This will make the probate process and executing the will move along efficiently and with minimal frustrations.
The executor of your estate will have access to all of your property and finances after your death. In order for your last wishes to be carried out as you planned, the executor of your estate must be trustworthy in a number of ways. They should be able to handle finances with integrity and stay focused throughout the process.
Your executor should also be trustworthy emotionally and relationally. If they are constantly involved in family drama or disagreements, they probably aren’t a good fit for an executor. Emotions are high after a close loved one’s death, and it’s the executor’s job to manage and close out your estate without negative emotions getting in the way.
Willing to carry out duties
The person you have in mind for your executor might meet all the above qualifications, but the most important one is if they are willing. Most family members and close friends are more than ready to help in this way, but it’s essential to get their full support. As your life changes over the years, check in with your named executor to make sure they are still willing to fulfill duties.
Choose a Successor Executor
You will want to consider age and life stages when deciding on an executor. Choosing a younger individual or someone around your age is the best option. This is because they will likely be able to serve as your executor longer. Still, though, you should name a successor executor. A successor is a person who will serve as the executor if your original executor has passed away or cannot perform the duties effectively. The successors should also be carefully selected.
After you have someone in mind for an executor, plus any successors, it’s crucial to have a conversation with them. Open communication will ensure they fully understand what’s being asked of them and are willing to do it. Once you have agreed on who will serve as your executor, it’s time to create or update your will.
Contact Merriman Law Firm for a free initial consultation, and we will help guide you on creating your will and estate plan. We are experts in wills, estate planning, trusts, and guardianship and know how to make this a straightforward process for our clients. Our professionals can provide as much counsel as you need to make informed decisions on what matters most. So contact us today and connect with Merriman Law Firm on Facebook and Instagram for more tips.