Wilson Financial Services Inc.

(859) 824-9422

Estate Read Time: 3 min

And the Executor Is

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Warren Burger is famous for more than just his time on the bench. When he died in 1995, he left a 176-word will that gave no specific power to his executors. As a result, he reportedly cost his estate tens of thousands of dollars in attorney's fees.1

Judge Burger's case shows that even law-savvy individuals can make mistakes when it comes to writing their own legal documents. But giving executors the proper power is only one piece of the puzzle. How do you choose an executor? Can anyone do it? What makes an individual a good choice?

Many people choose a spouse, sibling, child, or close friend as executor. In most cases, the job is fairly straightforward. Still, you might give special consideration to someone who is well-organized and capable of handling financial matters. Someone who is respected by your heirs and a good communicator may also help make the process run smoothly.

Above all, an executor should be someone trustworthy since this person will have a legal responsibility to manage your money, pay your debts (including taxes), and distribute your assets to your beneficiaries as stated in your will.

If your estate is large or you anticipate a significant amount of court time for your executor, you might think of naming a bank, lawyer, or financial professional. These individuals will typically charge a fee, which would be paid by the estate. In some families, singling out one child or sibling as executor could be construed as favoritism, so naming an outside party may be a good alternative.

Whenever possible, choose an executor who lives near you. Court appearances, property issues, and even checking mail can be simplified by proximity. Also, some states place additional restrictions on executors who live out of state, so check the laws where you live.

Whomever you choose, discuss your decision with that person. Make sure the individual understands and accepts the obligation – and knows where you keep important records. Because the person may pre-decease you – or have a change of heart about executing your wishes – it's always a good idea to name one or two alternative executors.

The period following the death of a loved one is a stressful time and can be confusing for family members. Choosing the right executor can help ensure that the distribution of your assets may be done efficiently and with as little upheaval as possible.

What Will?

Take a look at some famous people who left without having a will in place.

Healthy Body, Healthy Pocketbook
  1. Jimi Hendrix
  2. Bob Marley
  3. Sonny Bono
  4. Pablo Picasso
  5. Michael Jackson
  6. Howard Hughes
  7. Abraham Lincoln

Source: LegalZoom.com, September 1, 2023

1. Washingtonpost.com, 2023

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG Suite is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright FMG Suite.

 

Related Content

Retiring Earlier Than Expected? What To Know

Retiring Earlier Than Expected? What To Know

Retiring earlier than expected can be disheartening. Learn steps that can help you smoothe the road ahead.

Rightsizing for Retirement

Rightsizing for Retirement

What does your home really cost?

The Lowdown on Those Free Credit Scores

The Lowdown on Those Free Credit Scores

What’s the deal with your yearly free credit report?

 

Have A Question About This Topic?







Thank you! Oops!

Buying vs. Leasing a Car

Whatever your relationship with your car, it may eventually come time for a new one. Familiarize yourself with your options.

Is a SEP-IRA Right for Your Business?

For some, the idea of establishing a retirement strategy evokes worries about complicated reporting and administration.

Social Security Benefits: How Much Will I Receive

Calculating your potential Social Security benefit is a three-step process.

View all articles

Federal Income Tax

Use this calculator to estimate your income tax liability along with average and marginal tax rates.

Home Mortgage Deduction

Use this calculator to assess the potential benefits of a home mortgage deduction.

Bi-Weekly Payments

This calculator estimates the savings from paying a mortgage bi-weekly instead of monthly.

View all calculators

The Rule of 72

Do you know how long it may take for your investments to double in value? The Rule of 72 is a quick way to figure it out.

Surprise! You’ve Got Money!

Here’s a quick guide to checking to see if you have unclaimed money.

The Cost of Procrastination

Procrastination can be costly. When you get a late start, it may be difficult to make up for lost time.

View all videos