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Who should you choose to be your will’s executor?

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Who should you choose to be your will’s executor?

Written by Charles Newland on . Posted in Probate and Estate Planning

Pen laying on top of a Will for estate planning

Pen laying on top of a Will for estate planning

Many people view naming someone as the executor of a will as an honor. However, in Illinois, executors typically face challenging fiduciary duties, including inventorying assets, paying estate debts and overseeing asset distribution. If these duties are improperly handled, the estate may lose value or the executor may incur personal liability. Consequently, as a lawyer might note, it is essential for people in Lake County to choose the right executor during estate planning.

Paid professionals

Many people consider selecting friends or family as executors, but naming an impartial professional as executor also offers benefits. According to the American Bar Association, hiring a professional may be ideal in the following situations:

  • Executing the will is likely to prove complex. If this is the case, a non-professional executor might need to hire legal or financial advisers and invest sizable amounts of time in acting as executor. Naming a qualified professional can mitigate these issues.
  • Beneficiaries are likely to challenge a will or its execution. If conflict exists between relatives or business partners, appointing an objective executor is advisable.
  • Surviving family members are incapable of acting as executors. Executors face demanding duties, from gathering assets to preparing taxes. Illness, grief or other factors may prevent spouses or adult children from completing these duties.

For smaller estates, however, hiring a professional may significantly reduce the inheritance left for beneficiaries. According to the ABA, for estates worth less than $500,000, choosing an unpaid executor may be advisable.

Family, friends or partners

People who have smaller estates and close, trusted relatives may benefit from naming them as executors. These executors typically waive their fees and have an inherent interest in seeing the will efficiently, correctly executed. Unpaid executors don’t necessarily need legal or financial knowledge. As an estate planning lawyer could explain, executors in Lake County can use estate funds to secure any necessary professional assistance.

People who wish to name friends or business partners as executors should consider several factors before choosing one. Under Illinois law, executors who reside outside the state must post bond, regardless of what the will stipulates. Therefore, naming an executor who lives in Illinois is usually ideal. Generally, people who are adept at filing paperwork, managing finances and meeting deadlines are better equipped to handle the duties and responsibilities of executors.

Naming the executor

If a will fails to name an executor, the probate court will appoint one. Similarly, if an executor declines the duty or is unfit to serve, and if backup executors aren’t designated, the court will appoint a new executor. Consequently, it is crucial for people in Lake County to work with a lawyer during estate planning to ensure potential executors are properly named in the will.

 

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