As part of the estate planning process, you will need to choose someone to be the executor of your estate. Most people typically choose a close family member or a spouse, but you can pick anyone you want to serve in this role.
Whomever you pick as your executor during the estate planning process has a legal duty to be impartial, honest, and responsible for putting your interests ahead of their own. We usually suggest picking your executor as well as one or two backup candidates when you put together your will, just in case your primary choice declines or is unable to act in this role.
When your will enters the probate process, the court will first make sure the person you listed as your executor meets the state’s legal requirements. Once the court approves this decision, they will start their duties as executor. These may include the following activities:
- Taking an inventory of all the liabilities and assets of the estate.
- Providing notice to creditors, credit card companies, mortgage companies, and banks.
- Filing a personal tax return on behalf of the estate.
- Paying any taxes and debts owed by the estate.
- Distributing the assets included in the will according to the directions of the deceased.
During the estate planning process, you can decide to leave a portion of your estate’s proceeds to your executor to thank them for their work. However, you can always choose a professional administrator, but this will likely cost more than paying a family member.