After reading this post, you are going to die. (on a long enough timeline) A very macabre observation, I know, but I only mean to point out that we must all make plans to prepare for this unavoidable event.
Your plans should include choosing an Estate Executor, and below we’ll discuss some of the factors that you should consider when making this decision. Just to clarify, an Executor is the person that you name in your Will to manage your affairs.
By far, this is the most important factor to consider when choosing
an Executor. They will have nearly free reign to all of your assets that you worked your entire life to obtain. It will be their responsibility to protect and distribute these assets according to your last Will.
Texas Law requires that Executors post a bond to cover their actions if they do not act appropriately, but this requirement can be waived by you in your Will if you trust the person that you have named. As my Law Professor always said, if you don’t trust them enough to waive that bond requirement, then maybe you should consider a different Executor.
Ability to Act
Since you’re going through all of this trouble to carefully choose your Executor, it would be a shame if that person wasn’t able to perform the duties that you desire.
You should ask that person if they’re even willing because they have to accept these duties and may refuse if it is sprung on them. Consider where that person lives since you will want someone locally to meet with the Court, attorney, and personally manage the assets.
Something else to consider is that person’s age/health. Obviously, your Executor has to outlive you in order to manage your estate, so it is wise to evaluate their likelihood of doing so. Most people defer to their eldest child, but the options are limitless.
Along with their ability to act for you, it is prudent to consider what type of lifestyle they lead. If they are a single mother with eight children, ages 1-9, then they may already have enough responsibility in their lives and may have difficulty squeezing more in for you.
Ability to Act Responsibly
Not to be confused with their integrity or honesty, you should choose an Executor that will act responsibly in managing your estate. Even an honest person can be fiscally irresponsible.
Determine whether they have any experience managing money or even taking part in business transactions. Ask if they have made investments or managed a company.
You’ll want to consider whether they would act professionally when the family has a disagreement over a course of action and be firm in their decisions. You should also consider if they would be willing to consult with an attorney if they run into trouble.
After you’ve made your selection, do it all over again because you’ll need a back-up or two.
–Authored by Matthew L. Harris, Esq.,
Matthew Harris Law, PLLC – Estate Management Division
1001 Main Street, Suite 200, Lubbock, Texas, 79401-3309
Tel: (806) 702-4852 | Fax: (800) 985-9479