If you, like many people across New York, are working on your estate plan, one of the many important decisions you may have to make involves who to name as your executor. The executor role involves a high level of trust and responsibility, so it is not a decision you should make without first devoting careful consideration to it. At the law offices of Joseph A. Ledwidge, P.C., we recognize the critical nature of naming the right person as executor, and we have helped many clients navigate this and related estate planning matters.
According to the American Bar Association, the executor has numerous responsibilities relating to getting your affairs in order after your death. Executor duties might include paying estate taxes, paying claims against the estate, handling probate and notifying beneficiaries, among others, so it is important that you pick someone who you can trust to handle a lengthy list of important matters.
Some people prefer to entrust a close family member, such a surviving spouse, with executor duties, while others prefer to pay someone unbiased and impartial to adopt the role. There is no “right” answer about which option is better – it really depends on circumstances. If your spouse is in poor health and may pass on before you, for example, you may want to consider a paid executor. If your assets are not particularly considerable and you have a healthy spouse or trusted adult child, you may find it easier to appoint an unpaid executor.
You may also want to consider appointing an executor who lives close to you, geographically. The person you name may need to make a series of appearances at your local court, so for this and related reasons, it can be burdensome to give the duty to someone who lives out of state. Arguably the most important consideration in naming an executor, however, is finding someone you trust to meet deadlines, manage money and handle your estate with integrity and dedication. Find out more about estate administration on our web page.