VanNess & VanNess, P.A.

How to choose the right executor for an estate

An important step for a person in Florida who is creating an estate plan is to appoint the right executor. Some people may think of an executor largely as a ceremonial position, analogous to appointing a child's godparents. However, an executor is actually a position that comes with a significant amount of responsibility and requires that someone possess certain skills to be effective.

An executor's job is to manage all elements of the estate after a person's death. This could include dealing with family disputes. The responsibilities of an executor could last for two years or more. Executors must submit the will to probate, locate and inventory assets, track expenses and pay taxes. They may need to work with financial and legal professionals. An executor should be organized and meticulous. He or she should also be of an age that makes him or her more likely to outlive the person creating the will. However, being an executor also requires an individual to possess a certain amount of maturity.

An estate can have a sole executor, or it can have co-executors. There are advantages and drawbacks to either choice. For example, if a parent names one child as the executor, his or her siblings may resent the choice. On the other hand, naming multiple children as co-executors could create problems of its own and stall the process.

The executor is not required to manage the estate administration in isolation. He or she may work with an attorney and financial professionals if necessary. There are also several things a person can do to better prepare an executor. The will and other aspects of the estate plan should be discussed. An individual could introduce the executor to his or her attorney and any other professionals who manage aspects of the estate. Discussing the rationale behind the estate plan and the choice of executor with family members could make conflict less likely to occur.

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