On May 20, 2015

When a loved one dies, you may find out that he has named you as the executor of his will. While this may certainly be an honor, as your loved one clearly trusted you to wrap up his final affairs, it is also an important decision to make because being an executor means that:

  • You will become a fiduciary.
  • You will have some important responsibilities to fulfill.
  • You may even be taking on some personal liability in stepping into the role of the executor.

What this means is that you may need to give some serious thought to whether accepting the role of an executor is right for you.

Becoming an Executor: Here’s What You Should Consider

A trusted Denver estate planning attorney discusses what to consider when deciding whether to become an executor of a will.

A trusted Denver estate planning attorney discusses what to consider when deciding whether to become an executor of a will.

When making the important decision regarding whether to accept (or turn down) the role of an executor, here are some of the most important factors to consider:

  • The nature of the job – As an executor, you will be responsible for carrying out the provisions of the will and, if necessary, administering the estate in probate. If you have already been overseeing various aspects of a decedent’s finances (prior to the death), then stepping into the role of an executor may not be a far or difficult leap to make. Similarly, even if you haven’t been involved with the decedent’s financial affairs, if the estate is relatively small, being an executor can be a relatively straightforward affair.However, if the estate is more complex and/or you are unfamiliar with the decedent’s financial/personal affairs, you may want to think again about becoming an executor, as it could be a far bigger commitment than you realize.
  • Your personal circumstances – While you may want to honor a deceased loved one by being his executor, considering your own personal circumstances first will be crucial. For instance, how far away to do you live from the estate/county in which the decedent passed? How much time do you really have to dedicate to being an executor? And would you be willing to be an executor for months or possibly longer?Understanding these issues can help you figure out if you are prepared and actually able to become the executor or if this role may be better suited for another party.
  • Who may step into the role of executor if you do not – Does the will name an alternate executor? Or is there another beneficiary who would be willing to become an executor for the will? If not, then the court will appoint an executor to carry out the terms of the will. This may be an important consideration, particularly if you know that you are the best person to carry out a loved one’s wishes (and/or if there is a potential for someone being appointed as executor who the decedent would not have wanted to administer the will).

Becoming an Executor: More Important Info

If you do choose to be an executor, it’s also important to be aware that:

  • You CAN step down from this role at any point in the future (such as when your own personal circumstances change, etc.).
  • You CAN hire professionals – like attorneys – to help you with your duties, including the probate process.
  • You may reap some emotional benefits from being an executor, as it can give you some peace of mind that you are carrying out a loved one’s final wishes.

Denver Estate Planning Attorney at JR Phillips & Associates, PC

Do you need help administering a will or getting through probate? If so, you can turn to an experienced estate planning attorney at JR Phillips & Associates, PC. We provide a thoughtful, comprehensive approach to our clients’ estate planning needs, and we use a variety of traditional and innovative approaches to develop solutions that are perfectly tailored to our clients’ needs and objectives.

To discuss your needs during an initial consultation, call us at (303) 741-2400 or email us using the contact form at the top of this page.

From our offices in Denver, we serve clients throughout the southwest and southeast Metro Area, including (but not limited to) people in Highlands Ranch, Littleton, Castle Rock, Parker, Aurora, Greenwood Village and Englewood.

Categories: Trustees, Executors & Fiduciaries