Executors have many responsibilities. Some of them include selling your property, filing lawsuits on your behalf, paying creditors, distributing assets and reviewing medical records. Not everyone is an ideal candidate to be the executor of an estate. The person has to be trustworthy, take their role seriously and also be able to act on your behalf in a legal capacity once you’re gone.
You may want to consider hiring an attorney, bank, trust company or accountant to serve as your executor if you don’t personally know someone responsible enough to take on this role. You should keep in mind that these type companies or individuals charge fees for their services, which means they’re not right for every estate.
Ideally you want to choose an executor who’s in good financial standing to handle your estate. If they have liens against them, bad credit, bankruptcies or no credit history, then they may not be a good candidate for this role. Plus, the probate judge often requires an executor to be bonded for insurance purposes. Many companies won’t bond a person if they believe the individual poses a financial risk.
Any individual that you select to be your executor must be significantly younger than you. You don’t want the person to die before you pass away or the probate process has been completed.
Some individuals aren’t eligible to serve as executors. Non-U.S. citizens who live outside the country generally aren’t allowed to fulfill this role. Minors, individuals with criminal records or a history of mental instability generally aren’t allowed to assume this role either.
An executor must generally have the ability to act in a legal capacity on behalf of the testator. This means that they should be prepared to sign checks and handle other financial matters in a timely fashion.
Choosing an executor may not always be easy, but selecting the wrong person could be disastrous. This is one of the reasons why cases end up tied up in court for years. A probate litigation attorney here in Houston can advise you of the attributes that you want to look for in an ideal executor to avoid any potential problems down the road. This will go a long way in easing your mind about whether your final wishes will indeed be upheld.