An executor is a person who manages the estate settlement process after someone has died. If you create an estate plan you get to choose who your executor is, even though the court will have to approve the nomination and officially recognize the executor, also called a personal representative or estate administrator. If you’re having difficulty selecting your executor, here are a couple of tips you may want to consider.
Time and Money
Executors are not free, and they will have to be compensated for their time. However, many states have limits on how much executors can charge an estate, and while it may be counterintuitive, hiring a professional to do the job may be less expensive than a family member. For example, a family member may need to use a probate attorney much more than a professional who is already experienced with the probate process.
Some people think that having co-executors is a good option because it allows for more than one person to handle the estate and, if you are selecting family members, will convey to more than one person that you believe they are important. However, this is almost always an incredibly bad idea. It’s best to select a single person and have that person solely responsible for the estate settlement process. That person can hire the professionals he or she needs, but it should be left to a single executor, and not multiple ones. If you are concerned about hurting feelings, you can always name alternate executors in case the first cannot or will not serve.