Executor, administrator, personal representative and successor trustee are all names for the person in charge of your assets after you pass away. Who should this person be?
When meeting with clients one of my first questions is “who do you trust?” If you don’t trust them now, you probably shouldn’t trust them after your death.
Here is a list of some of the factors to think about:
Is the person older than you? If you are seventy and you’re naming an older sibling, you definitely should consider his age and future competency.
If you have minor children and their assets will stay in trust until they are age 25, for example, how old will your executor be when your children are in their twenties? If your executor will be ninety-five when your children hit twenty-five, then you may want to reconsider.
If you name one child as executor, does he have the backbone to stand up to the other siblings when distributing assets the way you wanted them distributed. Sometimes one sibling can bully the other siblings to get his way.
If you name more than one executor, then you need to be clear on the voting rules. If there are two co-executors, I would recommend that they both have to agree. If there are three co-executors, then is it two out of three to make a decision or three out of three? Is there a history of two ganging up on one?
Who is good at handling money, making sure bills are paid, returning phone calls, opening their mail, knowing how investments work, stable and relatively stationary?
What if you don’t trust any family members? I have had clients appoint their pastor, board of deacons, neighbor and lifelong friend.
What if you don’t have any of these or you think if you name a child as executor there will be a big family fight? You may consider using a trust department. Many banks and investment companies have trust department. The trust department can be your executor. They will charge a fee but it is usually very reasonable. The good thing about using a trust department is that they don’t die, become incompetent and can’t be bullied by an heir.
Don’t forget to name backup executors. Who will be your backup choice if your first choice becomes incapacitated or if they pass away?
Estate Planners of Arkansas, P.A. has prepared over 4,000 Estate Plans. Call 1-501-414-8965 for your FREE initial consultation today.