Choosing the right executor for your estate

If you are dealing with long-term financial planning in Ohio, an important consideration is who to choose to be the executor of your estate. There are many factors that go into choosing one, and it is a good idea to understand exactly what an executor does so you do not name one who is not up to the task.

According to Forbes, the general responsibilities of an executor, or fiduciary, include distributing assets and managing expenses and liabilities, and the task of naming this person should not be taken lightly. Some qualities you should consider include:

  • A trustworthy individual who will follow through with your wishes
  • Someone with a strong attention to detail and is very responsible
  • Ability to work with financial professionals
  • Someone who understands your family’s dynamics and overall values
  • An individual who is mature but fairly young so he or she outlives you

You may be tempted to name a family member, but if they are not responsible or do not understand finances and taxes this may not be the smartest choice. If you are having difficulty deciding who to name, the American Bar Association recommends naming co-executors which are often a family member or friend and a financial or legal professional. This way you have someone to protect your family’s values and interests as well as a professional to conduct the legal activities such as:

  • Protect property of the estate
  • Gather all assets and prepare inventory
  • Pay existing expenses
  • File tax returns
  • Invest funds
  • Distribute assets to beneficiaries and/or liquidate assets to pay off creditors

Once you have decided on your executor, the court needs to approve him or her. It is also a good idea to name a replacement.