For the safety of our clients and staff, and as required by law, all Ettinger Law Firm offices are closed until we are permitted to reopen.

Please be assured that all staff is currently working remotely and are available to you by email or phone.

All staff will be checking their phone and email messages daily*.

Please call our Director of Client Relations, Pattie Brown, at 1-800-500-2525 ext. 117 or email Pattie at pbrown@trustlaw.com if you need any further assistance.

* You can also use this link to schedule a phone consultation with one of our attorneys.

4 Pieces of Advice on Selecting an Executor

After the devastation of accepting the loss of a loved one subsides, it can be challenging to determine how to best process. Unless you have navigated this process before, performing the various tasks asked of an executor can seem overwhelming. 

 

As a result, this article reviews some pieces of advice that will make the selection of an executor easier. 

 

# 1 – Understand the Role of an Executor 

 

After a loved one passes away, an executor has the job of resolving financial issues associated with the deceased person’s estate. This means that an executor must identify these assets, pay off any outstanding debts, and distributing the remaining amount or remainder to a person’s beneficiaries. 

 

Executors also have the task of filing tax returns and paying tax debts. 

 

# 2 – Sell the Deceased Person’s Home

 

If the deceased individual was not married, it is likely that any heirs will decide to sell the property. This might mean that an executor will be required to prepare a residence for sale. If a deceased individual was married, the surviving spouse might decide that the best idea is to relocate. 

 

This often means that an executor must arrange for the surviving spouse’s relocation from the residence. In most situations, this means that a person will be required to dispose of any tangible pieces of property that are located inside of the individual’s home. 

 

An executor often will also be tasked with changing the title of the residence before it can be sold. 

 

# 3 – Consider Selecting a Professional Executor 

 

For individuals who have high value estates, it might be a wise idea to consider selecting a professional executor to manage an estate. Other times, it might be a wise idea to appoint a professional heir if you anticipate hostility among beneficiaries. 

 

Professional executors can help to greatly diminish the amount of bitterness that will occur among beneficiaries. By appointing a beneficiary who is a family member or loved one in this situation, you can be knowingly placing a loved one in an uncomfortable position. 

 

# 4 – Other Estate Planning Issues to Resolve

 

In addition to paying a person’s debts and distributing the remainder to beneficiaries, an executor may or may not be required to perform a number of additional tasks, which include:

 

  • If the deceased individual’s spouse is still alive, facilitate the sale of the couple’s house and help with relocation
  • Liquidate investments located in a person’s retirement account into a single account, which can be more easily managed
  • Access the deceased individual’s safe deposit boxes
  • There are a number of nuanced issues that can arise with taxes after a person’s death. An executor is sometimes required to resolve these issues. 
  • An executor might be required to shut down certain things like utilities, garbage pick up, yard care, pool care, credit cards, and cable services. 

 

Speak with an Experienced Estate Planning Lawyer

The selection of an executor is just one of many complications involved with creating a successful estate plan. If you need the assistance of an experienced estate planning lawyer, do not hesitate to contact Ettinger Estate Planning today.

Contact Information