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Designating an executor for your estate in Texas? Choose wisely.

Wills, trusts and other estate planning tools help you protect your assets, provide guidance for family members and prevent consequences or distributions that go against your wishes. Selecting an executor for your estate or an administrator for your will is an important part of the process.

An executor will have the responsibility and the authority to collect assets, pay debts or claims against the estate, pay taxes, distribute property and assets to beneficiaries, and manage the property in the estate. This is a serious task, which means you need to choose wisely when designating your executor.

Answering a few simple questions can help you determine if someone is right for the job:

  • Do you trust him or her? An executor has a fiduciary duty, but you still want to know that the person will make good decisions with your interests or your beneficiaries’ interests in mind.
  • Is the person fair? Executors are often asked to make decisions and they have control over tasks that will affect many beneficiaries. It is important that your executor can be fair and respectful to others.
  • Do named beneficiaries trust this person? The terms of your will control asset distribution, but disputes often arise when beneficiaries do not trust your executor to act in good faith.
  • Does he or she have a legal or financial background? This is not necessary, but it can be very helpful when making important decisions.
  • How busy is the person? Acting as an executor takes time. It is important to consider whether your designated person will be able to devote the time necessary to do the job right.
  • Is the person willing? Discussing a potential designation with that person can be just as important as selecting the person with the right qualities. You may not want to designate a family member or friend who will see the role as a burden.

If a loved one named you as the executor of an estate, it is a big responsibility and a complicated process. The good news is that you do not have to figure it out alone. An attorney who practices in the area of estate administration and probate can guide you through every step in Texas. Although you will have the final say and approval, they can handle the complex financial details for you.

Source: Daily Finance, “Who Should You Ask To Be Executor of Your Estate?” Michele Lerner, Accessed March 25, 2015

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