It may seem like an easy choice to decide who will administer your estate when you are gone. You may be thinking of appointing a relative you trust, or it may be your own lawyer. You know that your final wishes will be left in someone else’s hands, so you want those hands to be capable and willing. Regardless of whether you have a designated executor, understand that this is work, and it can leave the executor legally liable for negligence if they mishandle your affairs. If you haven’t chosen an executor yet, consider these three tips for choosing the best one for your estate:
- Someone you trust. This should probably be a no-brainer, but it can’t be stressed enough: your gut instinct can tell you who to trust and who not to trust. Someone who is pushing you to create an estate, to put them in charge, or to allocate assets as they see fit is not the person you want in charge of your estate. Contrast this with a concerned relative who may urge you to create an estate plan. They may refer you to a Oregon probate lawyer, or give you resources to find one on your own.
Of course, you don’t have to appoint a relative. An Oregon probate lawyer can execute your estate for you. In a case where you expect your relatives to not be in total agreement, having a neutral third party act as executor may be the soundest decision. Your lawyer as executor can have no interest in your estate, so there’s no conflict of interest.
- A responsible adult with a track record of financial responsibility. If your executor can handle their own finances, they can handle yours. Your financially responsible executor, however, may not be the most obvious. Earning isn’t responsibility. Have a child who makes a lot of money? Disposable income doesn’t mean fiscal responsibility. They may be spending themselves into a future financial crisis. Your child with a modest income who lives within their means and saves for retirement may be a much better candidate. Financial responsibility requires an attention to detail, follow-through, respect for the rules, and an ability to remain calm while looking at the future.
- Someone with the time and interest to execute it. Executing an estate takes time and energy. If your executor is a well-meaning person who is otherwise very busy, it may be a burden on them to do the work. It’s best to ask your would-be executor if they have the time and ability to do this, especially if they have to travel to your state or have other pressing responsibilities. Let your would-be executor know that it’s up to them to decide whether to accept the role, and let them feel free to back out if they honestly don’t feel they can do it well. Your estate is better off administered by someone who can perform the duties legally required with attention and due care.
If you still have questions about choosing an executor, or you’d like to begin the process of creating a will that explains your wishes for your estate when you are gone, please call our law firm 971-865-3171 to schedule an appointment with one of our estate planning attorneys or attend one of our monthly webinars. https://roseelderlaw.com/events-free-seminars/