Throughout the course of your lifetime you will likely execute numerous important legal documents, some more important than others. Without question, your Last Will and Testament is the most important of those documents as it decides what happens to everything you have accumulated over the course of your lifetime when you die. Despite the importance of a Will, most people give very little thought to the appointment of an Executor in the Will. Instead, people typically appoint a spouse or adult child without stopping to think whether or not the individual is actually the best person for the job. Your Executor will significantly impact the success, or failure, of your entire estate plan and will most certainly play a major role in the efficiency (or lack thereof) with which your estate is probated. With all of that in mind, consider the following questions to ask yourself about your chosen Executor:
1. Does the proposed Executor have the time to devote to the role of Executor?
Though it seems an obvious consideration, most people don’t consider it! Someone who has a demanding job, cares for small children, or otherwise lacks the time that may be required to properly probate your estate is not a good choice.
2. Is your proposed Executor in good health?
Appointing your elderly father who is battling cancer is clearly not a good choice. This is frequently becomes a reason to revise an estate plan – if the Executor you initially appointed becomes ill, you should take the time to revise your Will and appoint a different Executor.
3. Does the individual live close to you?
Your daughter who lives 1000 miles away cannot adequately oversee the probate of your estate. This is particularly true if your estate includes real property or other assets that require upkeep and maintenance while they are held up in probate.
4. How does the proposed Executor handle conflict?
In an ideal world the probate of your estate would move along smoothly without any bumps in the road. The reality is that there is likely to be at least some conflict. Your Executor should be able to handle dealing with angry creditors and pushy beneficiaries.
5. What does the individual stand to gain from your estate?
Appointing your son as your Executor, if he stands to inherit a large portion of your estate, can cause discord in the family. Why set up a contentious situation for your family when it isn’t necessary?
Taking the time to really put some thought into your Executor can go a long way toward the successful and efficient probate of your estate after your death. If you have additional questions or concerns about who to appoint as your Executor, or about your Illinois estate plan in general, contact the experienced Illinois estate planning attorneys at Nash, Nash, Bean & Ford, LLP by calling 309-944-2188 to schedule your appointment today.