Choosing Your Executor
By: Carah Kiley
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Choosing Your Executor
An executor, called a “personal representative” in Massachusetts, will play a crucial role in the oversight of your estate and the proper execution of your estate plan. The job of your personal representative, in general, requires them to review and analyze information about your debts and assets, pay off creditors, and distribute assets to your beneficiaries. The role necessitates attention to detail, a general business acumen, willingness to carry out your wishes, and a dedication to complete the work and close out your estate. It’s a monumental decision and, for that reason, one you need to carefully consider.
There are some basic requirements to consider when selecting your executor or personal representative. The selected individual must be at least eighteen years old and must be of sound mind (meaning they would not be judged as incapacitated by a court). While Massachusetts allows out-of-state personal representatives, you should carefully consider the duties they will need to execute before you decide to select someone who lives out of state. Often times, executing an estate plan requires a significant time commitment (think weeks or months) and the ability to address routine matters quickly and effectively.
In addition to these basic requirements imposed by the State of Massachusetts, the attorneys at KLG Estate Planning & Probate Attorneys have some other recommendations for you to consider:
- Choose a trustworthy, reliable person. This may be a family member or close friend. Whoever you choose, you should be confident in their ability and willingness to carry out your wishes as you intend.
- Choose someone who understands the role of the personal representative and what will be required of them. The role should be viewed as a job. Think to yourself: would you hire this person?
- Choose someone who is familiar with your estate plan. You should ensure they have a copy of your will. Ideally, they should also have the contact information for your estate planning attorney. It’s incumbent on you to ensure they interpret your will as you intend.
- If you have more than one child, think twice about naming all of your children as your personal representatives. While this may sound enticing and seem like a way to eliminate disputes amongst siblings, we actually see more problems arise from this than be solved.
- If you don’t feel comfortable naming a family member or friend, you can select a professional personal representative like a bank, trust company, or another individual.
Selecting the right executor or personal representative can feel like a daunting task. At KLG Estate Planning & Probate Attorneys, we understand that getting this decision right is paramount. There are a variety of serious considerations to make before you can be confident that you’ve selected the right person. Our trusted team can help you review all your options and make the best selection.