ARTICLE: What to Consider When Selecting an Executor

What to Consider When Selecting an Executor

An important part of drafting a will is naming an executor of your estate. Although there are some rules defining who can serve as an executor, there are additionally non-statutory factors that people should weigh when selecting an executor. If you are interested in drafting a will or want to know more about other estate planning tools, it is smart to meet with an experienced Corning estate planning attorney as soon as possible. 

What to Consider When Selecting an Executor

First, it is important that anyone considering selecting an executor understand how the laws of the applicable jurisdiction pertain to their decision. For example, in New York, a person must be at least 18 years old and must be of sound mind to serve as the executor of a will. As such, people should not choose minors or anyone who has been deemed incapacitated by a doctor or judge as their executor. Additionally, New York law bars people with felony convictions from serving as executors, so parties should be mindful of whether the person they want to choose has a criminal history.

There are other factors that could also disqualify a person from serving as an executor. New York courts have deemed executors to be unqualified because they lack the ability to read or write English, have a history of substance abuse, or are “improvident”(not having foresight or wasteful). Typically, New York law requires executors to be United States citizens; if they are not citizens, they must be residents of the state. 

In addition to the requirements imposed by New York law, there are other factors people should consider when selecting an executor. Perhaps one of the most important elements is the person’s character and demeanor. In most cases, it is better to choose a person who is organized, responsible, and level-headed to serve as an executor, as they are more likely to help the administration of the estate run as smoothly as possible. The executor should be objective as well, as emotions can run high during estate administration, and the executor should be able to make decisions diplomatically instead of based on their emotions. 

The location of the executor should be a consideration as well.  While an executor does not have to live in the same state as where the will is administered, in some cases it could make it easier for them to perform their duties. The age and the health of potential executors should also be factored into the decision. People of advanced age and those that are ill may not outlive the testator, while young people may become overwhelmed by their duties or lack the insight to make reasoned decisions. 

Contact a Skilled Corning Estate Planning Attorney 

Selecting an executor is an important part of estate planning, as choosing incorrectly can negatively impact the administration of your estate. If you want to execute a Will or Revocable Living Trust and would like to discuss what to consider when selecting an executor, Roth Elder Law, PLLC would be happy to consult with you to review your will or trust provisions. 

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We at Roth Elder Law, PLLC, believe in providing services in a way that clients can easily understand and meaningfully participate in designing and maintaining their estate plan for their loved ones, as well as be assured that their plan will be administered according to their wishes.