Getting named the executor of an estate can be a big honor. It shows that you trusted a person enough to put him or her ahead of managing your affairs when you can’t. Being an executor is also a huge responsibility that involves a lot of work. It can take time away from the executor’s job and other responsibilities. The good news is that there are several things you can do to make your executor’s job a little easier.
Here are some tips on simplifying your executor’s duties:
Make Sure Important Documents Are Easy to Find
One of the first things an executor has to do after the owner of the estate has died is look for important documents, including bank statements, the will, insurance policies, birth certificates and cemetery deeds. If these documents are not organized well, the executor might have a difficult time finding them and become stressed out. To help your executor out, consider placing these documents in a special binder.
Leave a Cash Account
When someone dies, there are a lot of bills to take care of, including medical expenses, funeral costs and lawyer fees. Make sure your executor has access to cash so that he or she can pay off these estate expenses easier.
List Your Wishes for a Funeral
It is difficult for people to make fast decisions about funerals when they are mourning the death of a loved one. That is why you should include your preferences for your funeral in your estate plan, such as is if you prefer cremation or burial. Doing this will help your family avoid a lot of disagreements and grief.
Determine Who Receives Little Items
It is likely that you listed who you want to receive your house, investments accounts and other big items in your estate plan. However, you might not have included who you want to inherit your smaller items, like your dining room set or souvenirs from family vacations. Believe it or not, many family members have gotten into arguments about small items like those after the death of a loved one. That can create a lot of unnecessary turmoil. To prevent fights, remember to specify who you want to receive each item you own.
Consider Giving Compensation to the Executor
Being an executor is a time-consuming job, so you may want to compensate him or her for all the hard work. However, if your executor is a family member, he or she may be hesitant to accept payment. If you believe your executor might not accept payment, there are ways to work around this. For instance, you could leave your executor money in a separate bank account or leave him or her a higher inheritance.
If you help make your executor’s job easier, he or she will appreciate it. If you have any further questions about your estate plan, consult with a qualified estate planning lawyer Memphis, TN residents trust as soon as possible.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at Patterson Bray PLLC for their insight into estate planning.