Your will details what you want to be done with your assets after you pass away. Having an updated will prevents your loved ones from fighting and making difficult decisions while they are grieving.
In order to carry out your wishes, someone must take the lead. This is where your executor comes in.
Choosing the right executor
Your executor should be a responsible person with good organizational and communication skills. His or her duties will include:
- Maintaining your property while your will is in probate
- Paying bills and taxes
- Distributing assets to your heirs
- Making court appearances
In Texas, an executor is entitled to a 5% commission for handling the estate. Choose someone who will approach the task with the same seriousness as any other paying job.
Appointing an alternate executor
When the time comes, your chosen executor may be unable to fulfill his or her duties. To prepare for this possibility, you should name an alternate executor.
An alternate executor is not a co-executor. He or she only steps in if the original executor is unavailable.
Mistakes to avoid
When choosing your executor, you should avoid these common mistakes.
Neglecting to update your will
Circumstances and relationships can change. You should revisit your will periodically and update your choice of executor if the person you chose is no longer suitable.
Choosing someone too close
Avoid appointing someone with a significant personal stake in your estate, such as one of your children.
Choosing an unqualified person
Generally, felony convictions, poor credit history and non-U.S. citizenship disqualify an individual from serving as an executor.
Your executor is an important person in the estate planning process. Once you make your wishes known, the right individual can ensure that everything proceeds according to plan.