choosing the right executor or trustee

When it comes to estate planning, one of the most important decisions centers around choosing an executor or trustee. These individuals will be responsible for managing your estate after you pass. Additionally, they must be there to ensure your wishes are carried out by distributing your assets to your intended beneficiaries. For that reason, you want to select the right person for the role. Here are a few tips on how to choose the right executor or trustee for your estate.

What Is the Role of an Executor or Trustee?

Whether it is a person or institution, these parties must carry out the terms of your trust or will. They will need to:

  • Collect assets
  • Pay taxes and debts
  • Distribute all assets to beneficiaries

Since this is an important role, you need to choose someone reliable, capable of the duties, and trustworthy. Unfortunately, an unqualified person in the position can lead to a mismanagement of your estate, leaving your beneficiaries with no assets. 

Find Potential Candidates

Executor or trustee candidate can be anyone, from family members to friends to accountants and lawyers. However, you will want to think about who you want to choose. 

For example, family members and friends may know your wishes, but they could lack the financial or legal knowledge for the job. On the other hand, an attorney or financial planner might have the experience but not have insight into your wishes. No matter who you choose, you must clearly communicate and document your intentions. 

Do They Have the Skills?

With all the responsibilities in an executor or trustee role, you will want to make sure that they have the proper skill set. They should be trustworthy, financially literate, and willing to serve. 

Choose someone with a legal or financial background to handle all the intricacies of the roles, such as accounting for assets and filing paperwork with the courts. 

Don’t forget about the executor’s location. You may want to choose someone who lives close to you or can easily attend a hearing in your jurisdiction. 

Get Professional Advice

If you’re unsure about who to choose as your executor or trustee, you may want to seek advice from an estate planning attorney. They can provide a little insight into the pros and cons of your potential choices and help guide your decision.

Once you’ve evaluated all the factors, it’s time to make your decision. Always keep the person informed of your choices and make sure they are willing and able to take on the position. After they have agreed, you will want to formalize the decision through your trust or will documents. 

Review Your Choice Regularly

Like a few parts of your estate plan, the choice of an executor or trustee is never set in stone. You should review your choice every couple of years. Sometimes, there are significant life changes. In those cases, you will want to update your documents and select a new person for the role. 

Find the Right Person for the Role

Knowing how to choose the right executor or trustee is an important part of estate planning. Consider your options carefully and seek professional advice during this time. With that, you can ensure your estate will be managed according to your wishes after your death.

If you want to select the right executor or trustee for your estate, please contact Bielski Chapman, LTD. You can schedule a consultation by calling (312) 583-9430.