This is an article from the Law Offices of Kobrick & Moccia (http://www.kobricklaw.com/) in Garden City, New York, that we thought others may find helpful.
When you sit down to create your Last Will and Testament you will need to make a number of very important decisions. Most of those decisions will relate to the division of your estate assets after death; however, there is another decision that you need to make that will directly impact the probate of your estate – the appointment of an Executor. People frequently spend very little time thinking about who to appoint as Executor, a mistake that can cost their loved ones a considerable amount of time, and even money, when it comes time to probate your estate. Before you simply jot down your spouse, adult child, or best friend to be the Executor of your estate, consider the following four important questions to ask yourself about your Executor:
1. Does your Executor have the experience and skills to fulfill the position?
One reason most people don’t give adequate thought to the appointment of an Executor is that they don’t really understand what the position entails. Your Executor will need to have at least a rudimentary understanding the laws relating to the probate of an estate as well as have the financial skills needed to successfully probate your estate. While hiring an estate planning attorney to represent the estate will certainly help, your Executor is ultimately responsible for overseeing the entire probate process.
2. Does your Executor have the time to devote to the job?
If your estate is required to go through formal probate it will take months, even years, to complete. During that time your Executor will need to be available to handle whatever issues come up. If your prospective Executor has a demanding job, is the parent of small children, or is caring for an elderly relative, it may be expecting too much to ask him/her to also find time to be your Executor.
3. How likely is your Executor to be around when the time comes?
In other words, how old is the individual and is he/she in good health?
4. Does your Executor handle disputes well?
Disputes during probate are common. Whether the dispute relates to a minor debt to a creditor or results in a full blown Will contest, your Executor needs to be someone who handles disputes, conflict, and pressure well.