Choosing an executor is one of the most important parts of drafting your will. The executor will be responsible for carrying out the terms of your will, distributing your assets, and finalizing your estate. Missouri law sets out requirements for who can serve, outlines the responsibilities of the executor, and establishes guidelines for compensation.
Duties of the Executor
So what exactly will the executor be responsible for?
The main role of an executor is to finalize all of the financial obligations of your estate. The person you choose will be responsible for identifying, valuing, and collecting all of the assets of your estate. This can be a complicated and time-consuming process that may include hiring appraisers, accountants, lawyers, and other professionals. If these professionals are involved, the estate will be responsible for paying any fees.
After the assets are collected, the executor is then responsible for distributing what has been collected. First, any debts of the estate must be paid. After all debts have been satisfied, the remaining balance is distributed to your heirs.
Executors are also responsible for completing the large amount of paperwork that comes with closing an estate. The probate court will require a detailed report of each asset and how it was distributed. The executor will also be responsible for the final tax returns of the estate.
Choosing Your Executor
The choice of an executor is highly personal. However, there are several factors that should be considered. Your executor can be a trusted friend or family member, but they should be able to remain objective. The tasks required of an executor are extremely important and potentially time-consuming, so you should be sure that the person you chose is responsible and willing to take on the task. Family dynamics are also an important consideration, especially if the terms of the will are likely to cause conflict among the heirs. Most commonly, spouses, siblings, and/or adult children are named as executors.
In addition to naming an executor, you can name an alternative executor who will step in should the first person named be unwilling or unable to serve. It is a good idea to include an alternative executor just in case.
Contact A St. Louis Probate Attorney Today
Contact a St. Louis probate attorney today to ensure that your estate is set up to be handled according to your wishes. The Law Offices of Kenneth P. Carp has experience with a wide range of estate planning and probate issues and can help you set up a plan for your estate that meets all of your goals. Call (636) 947-3600 today to schedule your free consultation.