You and many other Pennsylvania residents will undoubtedly want the closing of your estate to run as smoothly as possible when the time comes. Fortunately, long before your passing, you can take the time to go over your wishes for closing your estate and appoint a trusted person to handle the responsibilities of seeing your estate through probate.
Choosing an administrator or executor is not always as easy as some people think. Though it is common for individuals to choose a spouse, adult child or another family member, those do not have to be the only candidates. In fact, you could choose a professional executor to handle your estate if you hope to avoid placing the burden on a loved one.
How to choose your best candidate
If you do want to choose a family member or friend, you may want to remember that handling probate is a serious undertaking. Always discuss the situation with your candidate before naming the person to the role. He or she may have no interest in tackling the sometimes months-long process of closing an estate.
As you consider your options, you may want to keep the following tips in mind:
- Your executor does not have to be a legal or financial expert, though such knowledge certainly helps. Still, ensure that your candidates have a firm understanding of managing assets and can practice good judgment.
- Consider the age and health of your candidates. Someone older than you or with considerable health issues may pass before you or become incapacitated, making them unable to settle your estate.
- Consider appointing co-executors. If you worry that a family member will feel slighted if not appointed or you want to ensure that your executor has accountability, naming co-executors could be worthwhile.
- Remember to update your estate plan and reconsider your executor over the years. You may find that you no longer feel comfortable with the person you initially named, or the person may change his or her mind about being your executor.
Whoever you choose, it is important that you feel comfortable and confident in their abilities. It is also essential that you do not choose someone out of obligation. Though you may think that your oldest child, for example, should take on the role, if he or she is irresponsible, not good with money, does not handle stress well or even lives in another state, another person may be better suited. After all, probate is a complex process.