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?
Some people assume that if they don’t have anyone to name their executor, there is no point in having an estate plan. No way! This is not an excuse for not making an estate plan. 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 expertise that will serve them well in the process. Generally, a CPA who is working as the executor of a Will will consult experts 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 comprised 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.
Making Your Decision
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 has extensive experience handling every aspect of estate planning. Give us a call at (732) 281-0060 to find out how we can help you.