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Choosing the right executor (aka personal representative) for your estate is a crucial decision in the estate planning process. This individual will be responsible for ensuring that the stipulations you’ve made in your carefully crafted estate plan are carried out according to your wishes. This person will be in a fiduciary role, held accountable for working in the best interests of your beneficiaries. At Borakove Osman, LLC, we understand the importance of selecting a competent and trustworthy executor, and our experienced lawyers are well-prepared to assist you in making the right choice.

The Duties of an Executor

Once an individual accepts the role of executor, they must be ready to take on the following tasks:

Probating the Will

The personal representative initiates the probate process by filing the will with the appropriate court and obtaining legal authority to administer the estate.

Notifying All Interested Parties of the Death

The executor must notify not only heirs and other beneficiaries but banks, credit card companies, and other lenders, as well as the Social Security Administration and other relevant agencies of the deceased’s passing.

Taking a Complete Inventory of Estate Assets

The personal representive compiles and records an inventory of the deceased’s assets, including real estate, investments, valuables, and personal property (e.g. jewelry, vehicles, artwork) and has necessary items appraised.

Managing Estate Assets

The executor has the responsibility of managing and safeguarding estate assets until they are distributed to beneficiaries.

Creating an Estate Bank Account and Paying Bills and Taxes

The executor must open an estate bank account to be used for depositing checks and paying bills. The personal representative must also file federal and state income taxes for the deceased and pay any necessary estate taxes.

Distributing Assets to Beneficiaries

One of the primary roles of the executor is to efficiently distribute estate assets to beneficiaries 

according to the terms outlined in the will or trust, but only after all estate bills have been paid.

Handling Any Estate Legal Matters That Arise

It is the executor’s job to resolve any legal issues that arise during the probate process, such as challenges to the will.

Situations Your Executor Should Be Able to Handle

One of the complications of choosing your executor is that the person you appoint must be more than loved and trusted. The individual must have a working knowledge of financial matters and be calm and reasonable in the face of legal or familial challenges. You must be confident that your personal representative will be able to handle the following matters with equanimity:

  • Altering investments, filing documents, or selling property
  • Legal proceedings, such as court appearances
  • Miscommunications with beneficiaries or creditors
  • Family disputes or a contested will

In other words, your executor must be relatively unflappable as well as organized and detail-oriented.

Remember: Being an Executor Is Voluntary

Executors play a vital role in the estate administration process, but it’s important to remember that serving as an executor is never compulsory. While some individuals may be honored to fulfill this role, others may prefer not to take on the responsibility. Additionally, executors may be entitled to compensation for their time and effort, as outlined in state law or the terms of the will. It’s essential to discuss the executorship with potential candidates before naming them in your will to ensure they are willing to accept the role.

Having Trouble Naming Your Executor? Contact Borakove Osman Today

Clearly, naming your executor may not be an easy process. After reading this blog, you may be uncertain about how to proceed or feel that none of your family members or close friends is a wise choice. If so, this is a good time to contact our experienced estate planning attorneys to discuss the matter in depth. 

One option you may not be aware of is that you can choose a trusted lawyer as your executor, or even a bank. Such professionals may be especially helpful if your estate is of high-net-worth or otherwise complex, or if you foresee potential family squabbles after your death. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take this significant step toward securing your family’s future.

Borakove Osman, LLC is your trusted partner for estate planning in Wisconsin. Serving all of Wisconsin, including Madison and Dane County, we are dedicated to providing high-quality legal advice and representation to help you secure your family’s future.