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Virginia Beach Estate Planning Lawyer / Blog / Estate Planning / Selecting an executor requires careful thought

Selecting an executor requires careful thought

The executor of an estate has a wide array of duties and a responsibility, so making the right choice in selecting one is of paramount importance.

Trustworthiness is crucial, but so is competence.

“Choosing an executor for your will may not feel quite as personal as picking a guardian for your kids, but you should think carefully about who to put in charge of your money after you’re gone,” according to a story by Michele Lerner on the website Dailyfinance.com.

“A common adage in the industry is to name your enemy as your executor as a means of revenge,” John O. McManus, an estate attorney and founding principal of McManus & Associates in New York City, was quoted as saying. “It’s a thankless job. If you appoint someone you love as executor, get your house in order. Otherwise, appoint someone you do not.”

People with law degrees or accountants are often good choices as executors, but it can also be a close relative.

“According to the book, ‘The 101 Biggest Estate Planning Mistakes’ by Herbert Nass, one of the worst things you can do is to ignore your spouse when choosing an executor for your will,” the story by Lerner, a contributing writer to The Motley Fool, states. “Since your surviving spouse will be affected financially more than anyone else by your death, it makes sense for your spouse to be in control. But you should also have a backup executor in case your spouse doesn’t feel up to the task or if you should both pass away at the same time. And if your spouse passes away first, or if you divorce, be sure to update your will and your choice of executor.

“If you ignore this important task and don’t appoint an executor, the court will pick one for you. That person may or may not be a member of your family — and even if it is a relative, it may not be the ideal choice.”

The duties of an executor include collecting assets and information on beneficiaries; determining the legitimacy of debts and other claims against an estate; managing the assets of the estate; paying all taxes; and distributing the estate’s assets in accordance with a will of applicable laws when an individual dies without leaving one.

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