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What Should I Look for In an Executor of My Estate?

Judith Trentman Wilson, Attorney at Law, P.C. June 17, 2021

An Illinois resident may not want to burden their loved ones by talking about steps to take in case of their death, but avoiding the discussion leads to problems for the remaining family in the future. One of the main steps an individual can take to protect their estate and ensure their wishes are carried out is by assigning an executor.

The executor is in charge of administering an estate after someone passes away. From filing the will to closing accounts and ensuring assets are distributed as specified, an executor has an important role.

Qualities to Look for In an Executor

Most importantly, an executor has to be someone trustworthy. Since the person will have so much control over the decedent’s finances, this person should be responsible and organized. While many people gravitate towards choosing loved ones, it is important to ensure the representative is one who is honest and capable of performing this important task.

Since settling an estate takes a lot of time, the person should be able to juggle this task with their other responsibilities. While many may be tempted to assign two people to this role, in order to make it easier for them, in reality, this can complicate matters if the executors do not see eye to eye on matters. Getting the consent and signature of two people can also unnecessarily delay everything.

Most importantly, it is important to ask this person if they are willing to take on this role and explain one’s expectations to them. Given that it’s a lot of responsibility, people might decline to serve the role. In that case, it's important to have a contingency executor in place.

There are other matters that need to be addressed in one’s estate plan and an experienced attorney can outline the ones that best fit an individual’s circumstances.