Creating a will is a crucial part of estate planning. You need to develop a written document of how you want your assets distributed, among other things. However, another critical part of this process is deciding on the executor of your will.

This person has significant responsibilities for fulfilling your wishes after your death. It is essential to understand the role you are asking someone to undertake and ensure you choose the right candidate for the position.

Understanding the duties

You may choose an executor, or a judge may appoint an administrator if you did not name one in your will. Executors have numerous responsibilities. A few important responsibilities include notifying beneficiaries, managing property and liquidating assets, paying off debts, applying for probate and filing tax returns.

After your death, an executor needs to take inventory of assets. This may include retirement savings, stocks, property or valuable antiques. Determining the value of these assets and using a portion of the funds to pay off your debts is one expectation of the executor’s role.

Knowing the consequences

Choosing an unprepared executor may lead to numerous issues after your death. If your executor does not ensure he or she contacts all necessary parties, fails to cover tax debts or other problems, it may lead to delays or a contested will from other beneficiaries.

Choosing an alternate

The court does not require that the person you select fulfills the role of executor. You may discuss giving the role to your chosen executor before your death to make sure he or she is willing. However, it is also crucial that you have alternates to take the position if your first choice is unable to take on the responsibilities.

Making a choice

Choosing someone you trust for this role is vital. You may be able to state in your will that certain people, such as an accountant, assist the executor for specific legal duties. However, selecting a person you know wants to fulfill your dying wishes is vital.