Some family members are surprised when they learn that they have been named as a loved one’s executor. An executor has the responsibility of carrying out probate administration when named in a will or when appointed by the court. Many people do not realize that they have the opportunity to turn down this role if they don’t wish to serve in it.
Since there’s a lot of responsibility involved in keeping track of all the tasks of an executor, make sure it’s the right fit for you before you automatically accept.
If you are concerned about potential family conflict or what it would mean for you to take on the role of estate executor, you may wish to consult with an attorney in your area first to determine if this is an appropriate fit for you as well as the possible pros and cons. You are by no means obligated to serve in this role but do consider that if you are named and decline the role, another person will have to take on this responsibility.
If this is the same individual with whom you have conflict, you may wind up in the same boat to begin with. An executor has a fiduciary responsibility to carry out the deceased’s wishes as documented in the will or to manage the process of intestate succession which applies when a person doesn’t have a will. In either of these circumstances, you get the right to decide if this is something you wish to proceed with.
Ready to talk about setting up your own will and naming an executor? Schedule a time to meet with an estate planning lawyer now.