When dealing with end-of-life issues and estate planning, many people get overwhelmed and do not know who should be the executor of their will. Before you name an executor, it is important to understand the role an executor plays.

What Exactly Does an Executor Do?

An executor of your will represents you and your wishes after your death. The executor you choose will make decisions in your place, according to your wishes. Typically, an executor’s responsibilities lasts approximately nine months or more, depending on will contests or other problems.

Your executor has many responsibilities including:

• Locating your will
• Taking inventory of your assets
• Selling necessary assets
• Paying taxes your estate owes
• Paying creditor claims
• Distributing assets to the beneficiaries of the estate.

Because an executor has a large responsibility, he or she can be paid a fee from the estate. The person you choose as your executor should be responsible because an executor is personally liable to the court and your beneficiaries for his or her actions. Besides selecting someone responsible for this role, here are some other things you should look for in an executor. Someone who is:

• Trustworthy
• Accountable
• Organized
• Has a good sense of business
• Understands tax laws

Ideally, you will want someone you know well and who is willing to help oversee your affairs. However, because family members or friends may not have the expertise needed for this position, your executor needs to know that she can hire an estate planning attorney for complex issues, tax liability, disputes, or property issues.

If you’d like to learn more about this or any area of estate planning, please contact the Law Offices of Shane Smith at (678) 788-7144 or newcase@shanesmithlaw.com to arrange your “estate planning for life” consultation.