When it comes to finalizing your affairs in Massachusetts, choosing a good executor may not be as easy as you think. Forbes describes your executor as the fiduciary responsible for managing your estate at the time of your passing. Being an executor is no easy task, so many people who have already served as an executor in the past may decline to do it again.
If you have already acted as the executor for someone’s estate, then you may be familiar with the reasons people are often reluctant. If not, here are some of the many responsibilities of the executor of your will:
- Deciding on tax elections
- Working closely with CPAs
- Accounting for all your assets and debts
- Submitting your will to the relevant courts
- Mediating disputes between family members
Many people choose their executor based on camaraderie, but it is best to make a decision based on competence. You also need to take into consideration whether or not your executor will outlive you. In the instance of the executor passing away before you do, or shortly after you do without completing their assigned responsibilities, this might spell trouble.
To get around these problems, many people name professionals or even a company as their executor. This may include their longtime accountant or even their bank. However, to ensure the family has a say, family members may also be named as co-executors.
Forbes cautions that naming friends and family members may muddy the waters for two main reasons. The first is that family members may resent another sibling or friend for being named the executor instead of them, as it may imply favoritism. The other reason is that co-executors have some decisions to make that require unanimity and this can lead to disputes that may take years to resolve. As a result, many people now leave this responsibility to professionals.
This article provides information on the difficulties that may arise when choosing an executor. It should not be used as legal advice.