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No Executor? No Problem: 3 Alternatives to Consider

Last updated on: April 9, 2024

The executor of a Will is the person who has the legal responsibility to ensure that the deceased’s financial matters are handled. This can involve paying bills and taxes on the estate, making court appearances on behalf of the estate, distributing assets as laid out in the Will, and keeping up any property until it is sold or given to heirs. Your executor should be someone you trust, and who is familiar with you and your affairs. Most people choose a friend or a family member. But what if there’s no one who fits the bill?

Estate planning can be complex and overwhelming, particularly when you don’t have a suitable executor for your Will. However, there are alternatives that can help. At The Matus Law Group, our New Jersey estate planning attorneys offer tailored solutions for your specific needs. These solutions may include setting up a trust, choosing a professional executor, or considering other legal options to help you fulfill your wishes smoothly. Reach out to us at (732) 281-0060 to discuss your options and protect your legacy.

Alternative Options to a Traditional Executor

Some people assume that if they don’t have anyone to name as their executor, there is no point in having an estate plan. However, this should not be used as an excuse to avoid creating one. If you do not have a loved one who can serve in this role, you have other options.

1. Your CPA

If you work with a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), they may be willing and able to act as the executor of your will. Your CPA is a good candidate because he or she is already quite familiar with your finances. They also, of course, have accounting knowledge that will serve them well in the process. Generally, a CPA who is working as the executor of a Will will consult professionals on any issues that arise that may be outside of his or her realm of knowledge.

2. A Trust Company

You also have the option of hiring a trust company to act as your executor. They have experience in estate administration that allows them to handle any issues that arise, even the more complicated problems that might throw others for a loop. Another benefit of naming a trust company as your executor is that it’s a company, and thus composed of many people and continuing on indefinitely — which means you don’t have to worry about your executor passing on before you do.

3. A Bank

Like trust companies, banks are a good option because they have experience administering estates. While in the hands of the bank, your assets are protected by a number of checks and balances, which are in place to prevent your estate from being mismanaged. Also, like trust companies, banks are professional and do not rely on the input of anyone who may be emotionally impacted by your death, or who might have a financial reason to act adversely.

3 Executor Alternatives Description
Your CPA A CPA familiar with your finances can serve as executor, leveraging accounting expertise and consulting specialists for estate matters.
Trust Company Trust companies offer experienced estate administration, managing complex issues with continuity and professionalism.
Bank Banks provide impartial estate administration services, safeguarding assets with checks and balances, ensuring reliable and unbiased management.

Can a Beneficiary be an Executor?

In New Jersey, there are no legal restrictions preventing a person from being both a beneficiary and an executor of a Will. The role of an executor is to administer the estate according to the deceased’s wishes outlined in the Will. This includes tasks such as asset collection and valuation, settling debts and taxes, and allocating the remaining assets to beneficiaries.

When selecting an executor, it’s crucial to choose someone you trust, as this individual will be responsible for handling important financial and legal matters after you pass away. An ideal executor is someone who is honest, detail-oriented, and well-organized, ready to take the duties involved.

It’s common for individuals to choose a family member or a close friend as their executor, and often these individuals are also beneficiaries under the Will. This can be practical because a beneficiary who is also an executor may have a personal interest in ensuring that the estate is managed efficiently and that assets are distributed as intended.

However, it is important to assess potential conflicts of interest and ensure the executor can act impartially and in the best interests of all beneficiaries. Before finalizing your Will, confirm that the person you wish to name as executor is willing and able to undertake the task, as it can be time-consuming and sometimes complex.

Working with a Skilled New Jersey Estate Planning Attorney

Not having a friend or family member who would be a good fit for the role of executor is really not as problematic as many people think. In fact, the alternatives listed above are often better options because they prevent the people who love you from needing to perform complex legal duties while also mourning your death.

If you need guidance in creating your estate plan and deciding who to name as executor, The Matus Law Group can help. Our team of New Jersey estate planning attorneys has extensive experience handling every aspect of estate planning. Whether you’re safeguarding your assets, ensuring the well-being of your loved ones, or planning for the future, we are committed to providing you with personalized guidance and strategic solutions tailored to your specific goals and concerns. Give us a call at (732) 281-0060 to find out how we can help you.

Christine Matus

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Christine Matus
Christine Matus

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