Effective comprehensive estate planning generally requires the advice and services of a licensed attorney with the experience to recognize the benefits or problems that may arise around individual circumstances. Fortunately, addressing the legal aspects of estate planning need not be overly stressful or expensive. The more difficult challenges in formulating an estate plan tend to be choices that need to be made on a purely personal basis. One of those difficult choices can be the selection of who to nominate as the executor of your estate.
The executor plays a critical role in estate administration. The executor bears the responsibility of marshaling the testator's assets, making distributions to heirs and beneficiaries, selling property as necessary and ensuring that inheritance tax and other financial concerns are dealt with in a timely fashion. Apart from the administrative duties of the position, the executor also frequently ends up in the position of having to mediate disputes over estate interests.
In light of the range of responsibilities and demands upon an executor, making the choice of who will serve can be a perilous task. The choice of executor is all too often based upon emotional factors. Most people would prefer to leave their affairs in the hands of a trusted family member or close friend. In some cases, the choice will instill trust and confidence among heirs, but in others it may stir resentment. For that reason, especially when it comes to more complicated estates, testators should try to step back and assess some practical considerations.
Your estate executor does not have to be a family member. You may need someone with experience in financial management, real estate transactions or tax accounting. Even when specialized knowledge will not be necessary, your heirs may benefit from having a highly organized person in charge of estate administration.
The right choice of an executor should be a well considered decision, but it need not be an overly stressful decision. With the assistance of an experienced probate attorney, your executor will have expert guidance throughout the estate administration process.
Source: Townhall.com, "Estate Planning: Who Makes the Best Executor or Trustee?," Carrie Schwab Pomerantz, Feb. 7, 2013