How to Choose an Executor or Executrix

The executor of your estate is one of the most important choices you can make when writing your estate plan. This person will have the legal responsibility to carry out your wishes and control your assets in the event you are incapacitated or have passed away.

Many people will choose a family member, a child, or a trusted friend as their executor/executrix but it may not always be the best decision depending on your estate. If you have a large or complex estate, you may want to find someone who has specific expertise in estate management. Here are a few things to consider when choosing:

  • Financial experience: Whether you are deceased or incapacitated may sway your choice for who takes responsibility for your estate. Someone who has experience with financial matters can be beneficial in both situations, but if you are alive and unable to take care of your affairs, you will want to make sure that your finances are being properly taken care of so you can continue to have the right kind of attention.
  • Family Members: If you do choose a family member, it is important to choose someone who can get along with the other people in the family and heirs of the estate. When there are rifts in the family after the passing of a loved one, there can be contests and unnecessary court proceedings and costs.
  • Professional Fiduciary: Hiring a professional to be the executor of your estate may be one of the best options. A professional doesn’t have an emotional investment in the outcome of distribution of assets, they have experience in complex estate plans, they have resources available to them to resolve disputes, and they are required to carry bonds and insurance to ensure the person you choose handles your estate properly.

One should also note that whoever is chosen to be the executor of your estate is legally bound to do so appropriately and within the law. If they do not, they may be held liable for breach of fiduciary duty by interested parties. While you may feel obligated to appoint someone you care about to the position to avoid hurt feelings, it may not be in your best interest or their best interest if they are unable to meet the responsibility.

Sonoma County Estate Planning Lawyer

If you have additional questions about how to choose an executor to your estate contact the Law Office of Charles Stark at 707-527-9900 or utilize our convenient online contact form.

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