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How to Select a Trustee or Executor

Selecting a trustee or executor for your estate plan is one of the most important decisions that you will need to make while you’re planning for your estate. There are several different factors that you need to be considered when making this decision which is why it’s a choice that should never be considered lightly.

What is a Trustee?

A successor trustee is a person (or professional trustee) named in your Revocable Living Trust that will serve when you pass away. The trustee’s powers are defined in the trust document, and include all the powers needed to distribute the trust assets to your beneficiaries as defined by the trust.

What is an Estate Executor?

An estate executor is defined as a person who will oversee settling your estate when you pass away. An executor is a person that is specifically named in your Last Will & Testament and is ultimately given certain powers through the provisions in your Last Will & Testament and will be authorized by the probate or surrogate court to carry out those powers to settle your estate. Since this person has a substantial amount of power and responsibility, it’s imperative that you may the right decision when it comes to the person that you choose for this role.

Key Factors to Consider When Selecting a Trustee or Executor

If you feel completely overwhelmed by the decision as to who to name as the executor of your estate, here are some examples of details that you should consider:

  • Spouses are often obvious choices

If you’re married, there is no reason why your spouse cannot act as the executor of your estate. However, if you have contentious marriage and there is a possibility of divorce, you may want to consider other alternatives including family members or close friends. Another variable is if your spouse is critically ill or if there is a possibility that he or she may pass away before you, it could benefit you to consider other options.

  • Your trustee and executor should always be someone that you trust

An executor plays a vital role in settling your estate. Therefore, it should always be an individual that you trust. In most cases, a family member would be a suitable option however, if you do not have a family member that you can choose from, be sure to take careful consideration when it comes to the friend that you select.

  • Avoid choosing someone who is unorganized or bad with money

The main role of executor is to marshal and distribute assets of the estate according to your will which is why you should always choose an executor who is organized and good with money. Remember, before any distributions can be made to your beneficiaries, an accounting of your estate will need to be done to ensure that every penny is accounted for.

  • Consider appointing a professional executor

There are several companies throughout the country that will offer to serve as a professional executor of your estate. While taking this step may give you the peace of mind of knowing that your affairs will be seen to appropriately, it’s something that may also cut into the inheritance of your beneficiaries. However, if you truly feel as though you do not have someone that you can select as your executor, taking this option may be the best solution.

  • Talk to a potential executor before you appoint them to the position

One of the best things that you can do is to talk to a potential executor before you finalize your estate planning documents. It’s possible that the person that you have in mind may not feel comfortable in this role which could change your plans entirely.

Let Our Estate Planning Professionals Help You With These Important Decisions

Although our estate planning attorneys cannot select your Executor for you, there are several things that we can do which can help you to guide you in the right direction. We will always take the time to review the important responsibilities that your Executor will need to see to in this role so that you have a better understanding of the best person to pick. Get in touch with us to schedule your appointment today. If you want to create a Revocable Living Trust and would like to discuss what to consider when selecting a trustee and executor, contact Gregorek and Associates, PLLC at 425-284-3450 or use the contact form on this page and we would be happy to consult with you to review your will or trust provisions.

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