What Do I Need to Know to Be a Great Executor?

What Do I Need to Know to Be a Great Executor?

AARP’s recent article entitled “How to Be a Good Executor of a Will or Estate” provides items to tell your future executor.

An executor is the person who’s responsible for managing the affairs of the deceased’s probate estate. A dead person no longer can own property, so everything owned at the time of death must be legally transferred to living beneficiaries.

The term “executor” is most commonly used for a person who serves in this capacity. “Executrix” is an older term from more gender-specific days, when a woman serving in this capacity was given that variation of the title.

There are also the gender-neutral terms “personal representative” or “administrator” that are used in place of either executor or executrix. However, these are more frequently used with intestate estates (when a decedent died without leaving a will).

Let’s look at the reminders. Your executor should know the following:

The Location of Your Original Will Identify the precise location in your home, or if your will is filed with an attorney, state his or her contact information. Don’t put it in a safe deposit box because this can be difficult to access after your death.

Who Should Receive Notification Name all the people your executor or family might not think to tell or know how to reach. This may include physicians, the human resources department at your job and any organizations or clubs of which you are a member with the contact info to make things easier for the executor.

Passwords. List your passwords and access codes for email, social media, banks and other online accounts, as well as for your cellphone and PC. Give directions on how to handle the accounts and devices.

Who Gets What Give details as to what happens to nonfinancial items, such as recipes, photographs and mementos. Consider the things in your life that are special to you, describe this to future generations.

Contact an experienced estate planning attorney if you are uncertain of your new position.

Reference: AARP (May 7, 2021) “How to Be a Good Executor of a Will or Estate”