You are among the well-prepared when it comes to estate planning. Your estate plan is in place, you make regular updates to it, and you know that by doing so you are protecting your assets and family.
But now you encounter a change that you had not expected so soon. It seems you need to replace your executor. What are some of the reasons that a person must do so for this important person whose role is to settle your estate?
Breach of fiduciary duty, divorce, change in relationship
There are a few reasons why you should name a new executor. They include:
- Incompetence: Maybe the original executor fails to provide regular updates or feels overwhelmed in the role.
- Breach of fiduciary duty: If the executor favors certain beneficiaries or puts his or her interests before that of the estate, it is time to remove this person.
- Physical and mental limitations: An executor may “age out” in that he or she no longer has the physical or mental capacity to fulfill this important role. You need someone who has the energy and mind to complete the many duties.
- Divorce: Many people select their spouse as the executor. Divorce can disrupt this situation. Do you want your ex-spouse serving as executor, potentially creating great discomfort and a conflict of interest?
- Executor wants to bow out: Maybe your original executor feels that he or she no longer can fulfill these duties that include paying outstanding debts and taxes, settling disputes and distributing the assets. Settling an estate can be complicated and may take more than a year.
- Your relationship has changed: Sometimes, a personal dispute may lead to distrust, leading the testator to have no choice but to change executors. A falling out has occurred.
- A better candidate emerges: Maybe you found someone who lives closer to you, is younger and in better financial standing than your original choice.
Understand that the executor has a critical place in settling your estate. You want the right person who also is willing and up for the challenge and responsibilities.
Make careful thought to this change
Consider updating your will every three to five years. When you do so, make careful thought as to whether you want to keep or change your executor.