Serving as an executor carries significant responsibility.
Creating a will involves many decisions.
One such decision is who will be your executor?
According to a recent nj.com article titled “Who should be executor of your will?,” you should not choose your executor lightly.
This involves filing tax returns, paying taxes, paying debts, and distributing assets as stated in your will.
An executor can be appointed by the court or named in your will.
Chances are you would like to have a say in who carries out this responsibility for your estate.
As you consider who would be well-suited for this role, you should name alternative executors.
Even though you name an executor in your will, he or she may decline the role.
An individual can also accept the role and then choose to resign at a later date, become incapacitated or even die.
If you do not select alternates, a judge will choose someone to fill this role.
Although executors are not often payed, they are often entitled to some compensation.
This amount is determined by the probate court and state law, unless stipulated in your will.
For example, New Jersey allows executors to receive 5 percent of the first $200,000 of the trust principal.
If the trust principal is more than $200,00 up to $1 million, then the executor is allowed 3.5 percent.
An executor can collect 2 percent on any trust principal exceeding $1 million.
Often friends or family members will serve in the role without compensation because of their love for the deceased.
If you have a particularly large estate or are a business owner, it may be wise to choose an attorney or other professional who has experience serving in this role.
Work with an experienced estate planning attorney to determine what type of executor would be best for your circumstances.
So, how do you find an "experienced" estate planning attorney?
First, ask around. Friends, family and other professional advisors are trustworthy sources.
Second, conduct an "organic" search on "Google" for "estate planning" near you (e.g., "Estate Planning Anytown MoKan").
Third, either way, verify! Check out the education, experience, ratings and client reviews of any attorney before you contact him or her.
In fact, I use both of these services to thoroughly vett attorneys before referring members of our "client" family for legal help in other areas of law or for matters in jurisdictions outside Kansas or Missouri.
Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When making your financial, tax and estate plans, do not go it alone. Be sure to engage competent professional counsel.
For more information about estate planning in Overland Park, KS (and throughout the rest of Kansas and Missouri), visit our estate planning website and be sure to subscribe to our complimentary estate planning e-newsletter while you are there.
Reference: nj.com (April 16, 2018) “Who should be executor of your will?”