December 11, 2017
Serving as the executor of the estate can be a significant responsibility. The executor—also referred to as a personal representative, is generally charged with the following tasks:
- Preparing funeral arrangements for the deceased person
- Gathering all assets of the estate
- Paying off all creditors of the estate
- Distributing assets to heirs
Depending on the size and complexity of the estate, these objectives could require a rather large commitment from the executor.
Qualities to Look For in an Executor
Executors will need to understand some business and finance matters in order to manage the estate. More importantly, your executor should understand your particular situation, including knowing about your heirs, your real and personal property, and your creditors.
An executor cannot be forced to complete the task of managing the estate, so choose a representative that is willing and able to serve. Many people choose their spouse or another family member to serve as executor, but consider that they will also be grieving at this time and may not have the required knowledge and experience.
Choosing an executor is a personal choice, but you may want to discuss this issue with your attorney when creating your will or other estate planning documents. In some cases, choosing an attorney to be your executor may be preferable to assigning this duty to a family member.
What If You Don’t Name an Executor?
If you fail to name an executor, the court will appoint someone to serve. This process involves a search for next of kin similar to the one used in the intestacy statutes.
First, your surviving spouse will be asked to serve. If you have no spouse or they decline the offer, your children will be asked. This process continues until a relative, creditor, or any person of good character agrees to serve as executor. § 28A-4-1.
Any person who does not wish to serve as the personal representative can renounce their right to serve either by giving a written statement to the court or failing to qualify themselves as a representative.
Certain individuals are not eligible to be executors, including those who have been convicted of a felony. Talk to your family and your estate planning attorney about who would be the best choice to serve as executor of your estate.
At King Law Office, we understand that every estate plan must be uniquely crafted. Our goal is to help guide you through this process and listen to your concerns. Come visit us at one of our 12 office locations, including Hendersonville, Shelby, and Concord.