Being appointed as an executor comes with a significant set of responsibilities and a high level of ethics that call upon you to carry out important tasks with a focus on details and the law. The support of an experienced estate planning professional is recommended when naming an executor or personal representative to your own estate.
Choosing someone else to serve in this role might initially seem easy, as you likely have a friend or family member who could potentially take on this responsibility. However, it is important to recognize that the executor you choose does not have to accept this position so you may want to have a conversation beforehand about what this entails and what they need to know before making a decision about whether or not it is right for them.
No one is mandated to take on the responsibility of serving as an executor and it might not be right for everyone either. If you have already been appointed as an executor of a loved one’s estate, you do not have to allow the court to appoint you to this role and can instead decline the responsibility.
In the event that the deceased party names a backup executor, the backup executor will then step into the role to carry the will through the probate process. In the event that there was no last will and testament, or the last will and testament did not name a backup executor, it becomes the responsibility of the court to appoint a personal representative.
As an executor, it is important to recognize that some of the key tasks you would need to take on include filing the paperwork for probate with the court, providing notice to interested parties, such as beneficiaries or creditors, handling any tax issues, and inventorying and distributing the assets of the deceased. Since this can be a significant responsibility, make sure that you decide whether or not it is the right fit for the person you have chosen.