Terry Turnipseed says picking the right executor for your estate is crucial. This person will be responsible for carrying out your wishes after you're gone, ensuring a smooth probate process and minimizing stress for your loved ones. In this blog, Turnipseed walks through everything to know to choose the perfect executor.

Who is an Executor?

An executor, also known as a personal representative, is the person you designate in your will to handle the administration of your estate. Their duties include:

  • Gathering and securing your assets

  • Paying off your debts and taxes

  • Distributing your remaining assets to your beneficiaries according to your will

  • Overseeing the probate process (court-supervised settlement of your estate)

Here are the key qualities to consider when choosing an executor:

  • Trustworthiness and Integrity: This is paramount. They'll have access to your financial information and need to act in the estate's best interests.

  • Organizational Skills: The probate process involves paperwork, deadlines, and complex financial matters. Choose someone who is detail-oriented and adept at managing tasks.

  • Availability and Time Commitment: Being an executor requires significant time. Consider someone who can dedicate the necessary hours.

  • Communication Skills: The executor will need to communicate effectively with beneficiaries, lawyers, and financial institutions.

  • Objectivity and Fairness: Terry Turnipseed notes that, ideally, your executor can handle family dynamics and distribute assets impartially.

  • Willingness to Serve: This role can be stressful, so choose someone who understands the responsibility and is genuinely willing to take it on.

Additional Considerations

  • Age and Health: Probate can take time. Choose someone young enough and healthy enough to likely see the process through.

  • Location: While not always essential, an executor living close by can simplify some tasks.

  • Financial Standing: In some cases, executors may need to be bonded, which requires good credit.

  • Legal and Financial Knowledge: While not mandatory, some knowledge in these areas can be helpful.

  • Pro Tip: Consider Naming a Backup Executor

Life circumstances change. It's wise to name a successor executor in case your primary choice can or unwillingly serve.

Having an Open Conversation

Once you've chosen your executor,  talk to them about your decision and explain their responsibilities.  This open communication will ensure a smoother process when the time comes.

Terry Turnipseed explains that by carefully considering these factors, you can choose an executor who will faithfully carry out your wishes and make a difficult time a little easier for your loved ones. Remember, you can always consult with an estate planning attorney for guidance specific to your situation.

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