Whether your family is large or small, you have a complicated or straightforward estate plan, you must pick the proper individuals to handle the estate administration process when you pass away. If you have chosen a will as your primary estate planning document, that person is named your “Executor”. If, like many of our clients, you prepared a revocable living trust to pass your estate to your loved ones, the person named in that document is called a “Trustee”.
An executor (or trustee), is responsible for a number of duties. Although most executors see it as an honor to be selected, serving as an executor may also take a significant amount of time and work. This work can be simpler if your estate plan is well organized and up to date.
To help you consider who is a good choice to act on your behalf as executor I’ve created a list of things that the typical executor is expected to do:
- Determine what assets the estate contains. Bank accounts, actual property such as homes, automobiles, and vacation or investment property are examples of assets. If you have created a revocable living trust, your trustee will simply identify all the assets titled in the name of the trust.
- Prepare and file various court paperwork as part of the Probate process (if you are using a will).
- Determine the beneficiaries listed in the trust (or will).
- Pay your final taxes, outstanding bills, and funeral expenses.
- Distribute the assets of the trust (or estate) to beneficiaries according to the estate planning documents you have signed.
Finally, once you consider the work involved, it is important to name a trusted family member, friend or even a professional that you know to have character and to be honest. If you have questions about your estate plan, or the executor (or trustee) named in it, please reach out to us for a consultation. Your choice of executor is an important part of your estate planning.