Choosing an Executor for your Will

executor of will

1. Pick Responsible Parties Only

The most important quality your executor must have is responsibility. You don’t have to be an attorney, accountant or a financial planner to be an executor. You just have to be responsible enough to hire the right people to help you, address estate matters quickly, effectively communicate with beneficiaries and make hard decisions when necessary

2. Consider People in Good Financial Standing

Your choice of executor needs to have suitable personal finances of his own. People with many creditors and liens against them, individuals with no credit history and those who have declared bankruptcy are not good choices, since they often can’t get bonded. Additionally, those in poor financial standing are more susceptible to the temptation of skimming.

3. Name at Least One Younger Successor

It is not unusual to only draft one will during your lifetime, and since wills do not expire your estate may be probated using a will that is more than 40 years old.

4. Don’t Worry: Location Usually Does Not Matter

An executor does not need to live close to you. Yes, he or she may prefer to make an in-person visit to your house to ensure your personal property is distributed and to meet with your estate’s attorney, but many of an executor’s tasks can even be done without ever coming to your town.

5. Don’t Name Disqualified Individuals

One of an executor’s primary purposes is to sign checks. Courts tend to not approve executors they have trouble getting jurisdiction over, as well as people who have a criminal past. Therefore, non-U.S. citizens living outside of the U.S. usually cannot act as sole executors, and former felons are almost always disqualified from being appointed.

6. Think About Someone Patient and Emotionally Grounded

Most important, you want an executor who can handle doing hard work without hesitation, maintain emotional balance and apply tough love to beneficiaries.

Nominating A Guardian

A guardian is appointed by the probate court or designated by parental or spousal nomination in a will or other document to exercise powers over a minor or legally incapacitated individual. Generally, a guardian “has the powers and responsibilities of a parent.” MCL 700.5215. Although in some cases a guardian may manage the child’s assets, a guardian is primarily concerned with the physical care and upbringing of the child.

The nomination of a guardian for a minor or a legally incapacitated individual is very important. Many young couples are concerned about a family fight over custody if their children become orphaned, pr they fear that someone will be appointed who does not share their philosophies  about child rearing. Indeed, the ability to name a guardian often motivates the making of the will by individuals with very few possessions or net worth.



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