What a Will’s Executor Is – and Who it Should Be

By | March 9, 2012

If you’ve never heard of the term “will executor” before, it might sound like a scary position to hold. And it can be. Being the executor to someone’s will means that you’re someone who has been trusted with intimate details of someone’s life – and it also means that you have the burden of making sure the will is properly executed.

But what does that mean – “executed”? And who generally becomes a will’s executor? Who should yours be? These are all questions that we’ll answer in this in-depth look of the role of will executor.

Defining the Executor

Quite simply, an executor is someone who executes something. That doesn’t mean that you’re the executioner, of course, but simply that you carry out an intended act. To “execute” a will, then, is to make sure that it is carried out according to the deceased’s wishes. As will executor, this will be your role.

What types of responsibilities will this entail? Generally, it depends on the person’s own will. But some common responsibilities include submitting the will to probate, disbursement of property and assets to those who are due to receive them and handling of debts and payment claims. Essentially, the executor is acting as a final overseer of an estate after the deceased has already passed on.

Needless to say, an executor should be someone that is highly trusted by the person drafting the will.

Who Should Your Executor Be?

If you’re drafting a will and are wondering who your executor should be, don’t be worried. Naming a will’s executor is not a difficult process at all, and asking someone for their permission firsthand will feel like an honor to them.

But when you’re making your decision, you’ll still want to consider a few things. First, you need someone that you trust implicitly. For many people, that person is simply a lawyer they’ve been working with for a long period of time. For other people, it’s a trusted family member, or even a spouse. For others, it might be a friend who’s remained close to them over the years.

Since each person’s life is different, it follows that each person’s executor will be different. But every executor should be someone that is trusted implicitly by the person drafting the will.

Where to Go From Here

Still in the process of drafting that will? Thinking about re-doing the old one? Naming an executor to your will is not nearly as hard as you think; you simply need to get in touch with your regular lawyer and ask them how it’s done. They’ll be able to help you with a brief phone consultation and might only require you to come in once quickly to sign the new papers.

The more you trust your executor, the more secure you’ll feel that your things will be taken care of when you’re gone. That’s part of creating a lasting peace of mind and knowing that all of your affairs are in order – even if it’s well ahead of your time.

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