Choosing an individual as an executor
How did you choose the executor named in
your will? If you are like many people, you
may have drafted your will many years ago, perhaps, when your estate was small. The spouse, relative or friend whom you named
may have seemed a logical choice at the time. But, at the time, you may have realized that:
- An individual executor may be inexperienced in settling an estate.
Although it may be possible for your executor to learn while he or she is “on the job,” it is impossible to calculate the cost of unnecessary delay and lack of expertise in such responsibilities as asset appraisals, postdeath tax planning, and investment of estate and trust assets.
- An individual executor may not consider your estate his or her first priority.
Events in the business or personal life of your executor cannot be accepted as a valid excuse for the failure of your executor to carry out his or her duties and responsibilities to your estate and heirs. Of course, an executor may resign and be removed - in which case, a successor executor can be named. This is another example where there will be a need for court proceedings and delay, and more bills for your estate.
- An individual executor may be absent.
No individual can guarantee constant and immediate availability. Circumstances beyond an individual executor’s control may require him or her to be away at the very time that administration of your estate demands immediate attention. An executor’s duties and responsibilities require close attention.
- Any individual executor whom you name may die before or during estate settlement.
Unless you designate an alternate who can and will act, an executor must be appointed by a court. The individual ultimately chosen may be someone of whom you would have approved. But, possibly, the court may appoint a total stranger – or worse, someone whom you never would have chosen. What’s more, this appointed executor will have to be bonded at the expense of your estate. Or your named executor might die before completing his or her duties. Regardless of how far estate settlement has progressed, an accounting likely would have to be filed with the court, and, again, all costs charged to your estate.
- An individual executor may become physically or mentally incapacitated.
In this instance the process of settling your estate may grind to a complete halt, waiting upon a determination of whether your executor will recover. Court proceedings may be required to remove the incompetent executor and name a successor.
When we serve as
Over the years your estate has grown
substantially, and your executor has grown
older – two good reason to reevaluate your
earlier choice of executor. There are many
reasons to choose us to serve as your
executor or co-executor:
- Constant availability and continuity.
No individual or group of individuals can ensure the continuous availability required to carry out the directions in your will. Only through the designation of a professional, corporate executor can you be certain of the degree of permanence that estate settlement requires. With our continued corporate existence, we can serve from year to year.
- Specialized experience and sound judgment.
Settling an estate often requires knowledge not easily attainable by someone not constantly engaged in the process of estate settlement. No one individual can be a specialist in all the areas that make up the duties and responsibilities of an executor. We, however, have trained specialists able to provide all of the services needed to settle an estate.
A professional executor will treat all your heirs in the same fair and impartial manner. We cannot be influenced or pressured by anyone, based upon personal or business relationships. What's more, we are unlikely to be approached and asked for special consideration.
What your executor does, and how he or she does it, can make a difference in what your heirs ultimately receive. Inexperience can lead to mistakes. Mistakes can be costly for your heirs. In addition, when you choose our institution to serve as executor, you are likely to pay no more than you would for the services of an inexperienced executor.