Avoiding mistakes while choosing an executor

On Behalf of | Aug 31, 2019 | Estate Planning |

When writing your last will and testament, the choice of executor is among the most crucial moves you can make. Many Georgia residents understand that their executor should be a trustworthy and competent individual who can handle the task of managing an estate. However, there are other factors that can be overlooked while choosing an executor. Kiplinger describes a number of problems to watch out for:

Some people name a single person to be their executor. However, it can be many years before a will goes into effect, which leaves a lot of time for life events to make it impossible for the executor to serve. The executor could die, become physically incapable of serving due to disability or illness, or move away and be out of contact. The absence of your chosen executor means the court will likely appoint a replacement, someone that you might not have approved of.

Some people try to get around this problem by naming multiple people to serve as co-executors. However, this can create a different batch of problems. If the executors do not see eye to eye on how to close out the estate, there can be many delays and perhaps even conflicts that lead to litigation among them. Even if you specifically define and divide up the duties of executor among your candidates, they might still have problems coordinating their activities.

Age can also be an issue. Naming one or more executors who are your peers can be a problem, particularly if you live to a very old age, as you might end up outliving your executors. Some people may still prefer to hand off their estate to a spouse or sibling, so as a backup, you can name a younger person, someone who is likely to outlive you, as a successor executor in the event your initial choice passes away.

A person does not need to be a financial expert to serve as an executor, and as FindLaw points out, many wills are pretty simple. But if you have a large estate and/or complicated family dynamics, you may prioritize finding someone with some level of financial expertise, even if that person is not a member of your family. However, family members who receive counsel from financial professionals may still be good options to manage a complicated estate.