3500 SR 59 N
Linton, IN 47441

David Hensley, Certified Financial Plannerâ„¢

812.798.7239

 

And the Executor Is

Tip: Generally,
children under the age of 18 cannot be executors.
Source: FindLaw.com, January 2012.

In her will, American businesswoman Leona Helmsley left $12 million in a trust fund to her dog Trouble. Her executors were responsible for seeing that her wishes were carried out. In the year after her death, they also dealt with challenges from two disinherited grandchildren, oversaw scores of properties and hotels, and managed a huge investment portfolio in a falling economy. What did they get for their trouble? $900,000 apiece.¹

The executor to your will may not be as busy or as well compensated as Ms. Helmsley’s. Still, you’ll want to give thoughtful consideration to this important choice. How do you choose an executor? Can anyone do it? What makes an individual a good choice?

Many people choose a spouse, sibling, child, or close friend as executor. In most cases, the job is fairly straightforward. Still, you might give special consideration to someone who is well organized and capable of handling financial matters. Someone who is respected by your heirs and a good communicator also may help make the process run smoothly.

Above all, an executor should be someone trustworthy, since this person will have legal responsibility to manage your money, pay your debts (including taxes), and distribute your assets to your beneficiaries as stated in your will.

If your estate is large or you anticipate a significant amount of court time for your executor, you might think of naming a bank, lawyer, or financial professional. These individuals will typically charge a fee, which would be paid by the estate. In some families, singling out one child or sibling as executor could be construed as favoritism, so naming an outside party may be a good alternative.

Fast Fact:
Michael Jackson chose executors from outside his family to manage his estate.
Source: Money.USNews.com, December 6, 2011

Whenever possible, choose an executor who lives near you. Court appearances, property issues, even checking mail can be simplified by proximity. Also, some states place additional restrictions on executors who live out of state, so check the laws where you live.

Whomever you choose, discuss your decision with that person. Make sure the individual understands and accepts the obligation—and knows where you keep important records. Because the person may pre-decease you—or have a change of heart about executing your wishes—it’s always a good idea to name one or two alternative executors.

The period following the death of a loved one is a stressful time, and can be confusing for family members. Choosing the right executor can help ensure that the distribution of your assets may be done efficiently and with as little upheaval as possible.

What Will?

Take a look at some famous people who left without having a will in place.

Healthy Body, Healthy Pocketbook
  1. Jimi Hendrix
  2. Bob Marley
  3. Sonny Bono
  4. Pablo Picasso
  5. Howard Hughes
  6. Barry White
  7. Abraham Lincoln

Source: LegalZoom.com, 2011; glosslegal.co.uk, 2011

1.  NYDailyNews.com, September 9,2012

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. Some of this material was developed and produced by FMG, LLC, to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG, LLC, is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright 2014 Faulkner Media Group.

Share |
 

Related Content

When Do You Need a Will?

When Do You Need a Will?

When do you need a will? The answer is easy: right now.

A Brief History of Estate Taxes

A Brief History of Estate Taxes

Federal estate taxes have long since been a lucrative source of funding for the federal government.

Principles of Preserving Wealth

Principles of Preserving Wealth

How federal estate taxes work, plus estate management documents and tactics.