How to Choose an Executor for Your Estate
When you die and you have a will, the executor of your estate named in the will oversees the probate administration of your estate. They step into your shoes and are responsible for making an inventory of the estate; paying taxes, bills, and other expenses from the estate; selling assets to meet payment obligations (if necessary); distributing the estate’s assets to beneficiaries. Given the gravity of these responsibilities, you want to choose your executor wisely, and preferably with the advice of a Springfield probate lawyer.
The eligibility requirements for executors under Missouri law are very simple. Anyone can serve as an executor except:
- Full-time judges, clerks, deputy clerks, or division clerks of Missouri courts (with exceptions)
- Persons under the age of 18
- Persons of unsound mind
- Persons under a legal disability as a result of conviction of a crime
- Corporations, partnerships or associations organized under the law of a state or country other than the state of Missouri (with exceptions)
- Habitual drunkards
- An executor of an executor (i.e., the executor of your executor’s estate if your executor dies)
With the statutory requirements to serve as an executor presenting such a low bar, the selection of an executor for your estate is almost entirely up to you and will be based on a number of personal factors, such as:
Your executor should be someone you trust and who has demonstrated a high degree of responsibility in their personal and professional lives. Traits that indicate responsibility can include financial stability, long-term relationships, professional competence, effective communication, and community involvement.
Administrating an estate is largely a financial undertaking. While your executor need not be a financial professional, they should at least be “good with money” and capable of understanding and executing moderately complex transactions.
Relationship to the Testator
Your executor should be someone you are on good terms with and who cares about you and your family’s wellbeing. This category of individuals typically includes family members and close friends but could also include long-term business partners.
Age and Health
The only age-related requirement for executors is that they be over the age of 18. However, you generally should choose an executor who is your age or younger and who is in relatively good health. If your first choice of executor does not meet those criteria, consider appointing a successor executor who does.
Your executor does not necessarily need to live close to you to carry out their duties. However, choosing a local executor can reduce the amount of time and money required to administer your estate. For example, if the executor incurs travel expenses in the course of their duties to your estate, they will be compensated from the estate.
Still Need Advice? Speak to Our Springfield Probate Lawyers.
The selection of an executor for your estate is not a decision to be taken lightly. For more information about choosing the right executor (or executors) for your estate, please contact the Springfield probate lawyers at LifeGen Law Group by calling 417-823-9898 or using our online contact form.