By Darlynn Morgan, OC Probate Attorney

As an OC probate attorney, I know that selecting the executor of your estate is one of the most critical decisions you will make while preparing your estate plan.  Many people come in to my office thinking they already know who they want to serve in this role– and in most cases people choose a close relative.  But, as I take the time to fully explain the roles and responsibilities of the executor, I find that most people wisely decide to change their plan.  

Simply put, the executor of your estate will make sure that everything runs smoothly after your death. 

However, the role of the executor is much more complex than it looks like on its surface.  Some of the things that your executor will be responsible for include:

  • Collecting and inventorying your assets
  • Paying off your remaining debts
  • Paying your taxes and administrative expenses associated with your estate
  • Distributing the remaining assets to the beneficiaries that you named in your estate plan

The skills and personality of this person should also be considered.  The executor of your estate should be extremely organized, have the ability to deal with the pressure of family members who may not be happy with how the estate was handled, and of course, be entirely honest.

Once you have identified the person that you want to name as executor of your estate, you should interview them in a sense, much as you would a job applicant.  Make sure they completely understand the roles and responsibilities as well as any family issues that might arise during the process.   You should actually get their permission before naming them as your executor.

If you need help deciding who should be your executor, feel free to call me, your neighborhood OC probate attorney, for a free Family Wealth Planning Session (normally $750).  I will personally take the time to walk you through the process of selecting your executor as well as all of the other critical decisions that need to be made.   Simply call (949) 260-1400 to get started!