Typically, when people draft a will, they designate a person to act as the executor of their estate. Many people may be inclined to choose a close relative to act as executor, but they should weigh factors other than their affinity with the potential candidate when making their decision. Knowing how to select an estate executor can make the process of designating a person to handle your affairs after you have passed away easier and provide you with peace of mind that your objectives will be met. If you have questions regarding forming an estate plan or drafting a will, it is in your best interest to meet with a skilled Palm Beach estate planning attorney to discuss your options.
How to Select an Estate Executor
A person selecting an estate executor should consider both the legal requirements for executors in the state where they intend to execute their will and the characteristics of the person that they are considering naming as executor.
Florida law imposes numerous conditions people must meet to act as executors of estates. For example, only people who are of sound mind and who are at least 18 years old are permitted to serve as executors. While Florida does not impose an upper age limit for executors, older individuals are more prone to cognitive decline and may pass away before the person drafting the will. A person drafting a will, therefore, should consider the age and mental health of potential executors prior to making a final selection. Further, Florida provides that people with felony convictions cannot serve as executors of estates; as such, a testator should investigate whether the person they have in mind to serve as executor has a criminal record.
Testators selecting executors should also evaluate whether there are other factors that may render a person unsuitable. For example, in Florida, estate executors generally must be residents of the state. Florida does allow for non residents to serve as executor if they are related by blood or marriage.
In addition, a testator should examine the conduct and personality of contenders for the position of executor. In other words, people who are level-headed and can make reasoned, objective decisions generally make better executors than those that are overly emotional or behave erratically. Similarly, it is usually better for people with good organizational skills who are reasonably intelligent to handle the duties imposed on an estate executor than those who are easily overwhelmed, unreliable, or prone to making ill-advised decisions. There are practical matters a person selecting an estate executor should assess as well, such as the amount of time a potential executor would have to devote to their duties, whether they would need to travel to another state or country, and whether they are willing to act as executor.
Speak to a Trusted Palm Beach Estate Planning Attorney
Understanding how to select an estate executor can make the process of drafting a will less arduous. If you need assistance selecting an estate executor or drafting an estate plan, contact us today to schedule a consultation.