Choosing an executor for your estate represents one of the more important decisions in the estate planning process. The right person for this important and time-consuming role must have the patience, availability, willingness and financial savviness to perform the job.
But, sometimes, replacing an executor also is in the cards, especially if that person is no longer up to the task. You want to make sure that you are comfortable with the person in this critical role. After all, an executor has numerous responsibilities include identifying, locating and distributing the estate’s assets, settling the estate, paying outstanding debts and taxes and resolving disputes between heirs. When is it time to replace an executor?
A better candidate, a divorce
Here are some of the reasons why you should replace your executor:
- The original executor no longer can perform the necessary duties: Perhaps that person has come down with a physical disability or mental illness, which drastically hinders their ability to successfully perform the responsibilities.
- A better candidate can fulfill the executor duties: Perhaps your original choice has outgrown the role and no longer has the stamina and resilience for its duties. In another situation, you may want to replace an executor who has moved a long distance away.
- Your spouse is your executor, but you are now divorced: This represents an awkward situation, and you likely do not want your former spouse playing a role in managing your estate.
- Your executor no longer wants the role: It takes the right person with the right disposition and know-how for the executor role. If your original choice no longer feels up to the responsibilities, then find someone else.
- A falling out with the original executor: Perhaps your relationship with this person has significantly changed. You may have had a disagreement, a shift in your friendship or relationship and no longer share the same values. Time to make a change.
Whenever you update your will, do not overlook whether to replace your executor. Having the right person perform these crucial duties can help make for a much smoother process.