It is vital that a dependable executor be chosen to handle your estate

A recent article on the New Jersey.com website observes that the complexities and emotions of making sure that your affairs are in order after you pass lead many people to simply avoid addressing their estate planning altogether. Surveys by ABC News and the Associated Press indicate that half of all Americans have not executed a will, the most basic of estate planning documents. Even though some feel that estate planning is overwhelming, it is really not that difficult and is one of the most important things that someone can do for the sake of their families and loved ones. A vital part of the process of estate planning is choosing and naming an executor.

Investopedia notes that few people understand the necessity of selecting the right executor to manage their affairs and distribute their assets to their beneficiaries upon their death. The truth is that picking the right executor will mean that your loved ones will receive their inheritance on a timely basis while selecting the wrong executor could lead to lengthy delays, tax problems, mismanaged assets and-possibly-a will contest. In too many instances, beneficiaries of a deceased sometimes feel forced to challenge the actions of executors who are allegedly mishandling the administration of an estate.

The importance of a reliable and trustworthy executor is underscored by his or her tasks. A New Jersey executor will need to take an inventory of your assets which includes your bank and brokerage accounts, property, antiques and other valuables. Executors are charged with paying any debts of the estate and managing the estate. Tax returns will have to be filed, paperwork completed, and-most importantly-the estate will need to be distributed to the beneficiaries pursuant to the will.

Selecting an executor

An executor should be chosen based upon his or her commitment to carrying out your final wishes. Conversations magazine offers the following tips for choosing an executor to administer your estate:

  • Choose an executor based on his or her suitability for the work rather than the relationship to you.
  • Choose an executor who can handle and resolve conflicts between family members if they arise.
  • If the estate involves considerable assets or will be complex to administer, choose an executor who has a financial background.
  • Select someone who is organized, dependable and good at handling paperwork.
  • Select someone whom you trust and who will follow your instructions as set forth in your will.
  • Choose an executor who you are reasonably sure will not try to take advantage of other family members following your passing.

Senior Living magazine adds that, when you decide on a person to be executor, you need to inform that person that you wish him or her to be the executor and make sure that person is willing to accept the responsibility. It may be useful to sit down with the person who agrees to act as executor and verbally go over the provisions of your will. Finally, it is wise to inform family members whom you have chosen so it does not come as a surprise to them after you pass.

Seeking legal help

If you are considering estate planning to protect the future of your loved ones, you should contact a New Jersey attorney experienced in estate planning as soon as possible. The attorney will be glad not only to prepare estate planning documents such as a will, he or she can also give you advice on selecting an appropriate executor for your estate.