There are several important aspects to creating a fully-functioning estate plan. The creation of a will is obviously an incredibly important foundational piece of a well-rounded plan. However, it is not always the final step. Many choose to select and name an executor for their estate who will help ensure that their wills and other wishes are carried out.
Typically, an executor is named by the person in his or her will. However, an executor can also be appointed by the court if necessary. Typical responsibilities for the chosen person include paying bills and taxes for the estate, distributing assets in accordance with the will, maintaining the property and appearing in court on behalf of the estate.
When choosing an executor, people often select their spouses, children or siblings. While selecting someone for his or her honesty is important, not to mention self-evident, other virtues such as organizational skills and communication abilities can play vital roles as well. In addition, it may be important to consider family dynamics and an executor's physical location.
When people name an executor, they often name an alternative executor. Even if the first-named executor is aware of his or her designation and has agreed to it, he or she may decline the responsibility when the time arises. If this happens and no alternate has been designated, the court will then choose an executor, which could result in unintended consequences.
When choosing an executor for their estates, most people discuss their selection criteria with an attorney who is experienced in estate planning. There can be ramifications in choosing the wrong person to oversee a person's estate and wishes after he or she has passed. Attorneys can assist in the best selection based upon their client's goals.