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Life Sense

How to Choose an Executor for Your Will

While no one likes thinking about their own mortality, writing a will is an important part of planning for your family's future. (So is finding the right life insurance.)

When creating a will, you start by deciding who will receive your assets when you’re gone. But this is just the first step. Once your plan is on paper, someone still has to make sure your final wishes are met and your family is cared for.

That someone is your executor – the person designated to perform all the legal tasks related to your last will and testament. It’s a big job. So before you write down a name, seriously consider the responsibilities to determine who might be a good fit.

What Does an Executor Do?

Your executor doesn’t have to be a professional. All it takes is a patient, mature person who can handle the responsibility.

The duties of an executor include:

  • Offering your will for probate
  • Taking inventory and managing your assets
  • Using your estate’s funds to pay bills, including taxes, funeral and burial costs
  • Notifying banks, creditors and government agencies of the death
  • Distributing assets to beneficiaries
  • Preparing and filing final income tax returns
  • Paying off any debts

How to Choose the Right Person to Be Your Executor

Because of the significant responsibilities placed on your executor, not everyone will be right for the job. Here are some tips on how to choose an executor for your will:

  1. Choose someone you trust. Pick someone who is emotionally and financially wise. It helps if you know your executor will be humble enough to ask for help if things get complicated, too.
  2. Name a successor. Ideally, your executor will outlive you. But in the event that doesn’t happen, it’s always wise to name a successor – just in case.
  3. Avoid any feuds. When it comes to dividing your estate, tensions can run high. Choose a neutral party that will cause the least amount of conflict. Consider a group who works well together, or someone outside of the family to minimize disputes.
  4. Choose someone qualified. Make sure your first choice is a legal one. In most cases, non-U.S. citizens, felons and minors can’t act as executors. If your executor is young – such as a son or daughter – you can request that he or she only acts as executor after reaching a certain age.
  5. Find a third party, if needed. Consider using a bank, trust company or other professional to manage your estate. Third parties can ease the burden for loved ones, and the cost can be covered from your estate.
  6. Change if necessary. As your life and relationships change, you may want to consider changing your executor, too. Periodically review your will to ensure your executor is still someone you trust to serve your estate.
  7. Get their approval. Always talk to your executor about the role beforehand.  Go over your will so they’re prepared for the work ahead. This will make it less overwhelming for them when the time comes.

Protect Your Family’s Future

Part of securing your legacy is protecting the lifestyle you’ve worked so hard to build for your family. Ask your local ERIE agent about affordable and flexible life insurance options from Erie Family Life that can help take care of your loved ones for years to come. Learn more about the different types of life insurance we offer.

Ready for a personalized quote? Contact your local ERIE agent to learn more about how you can protect your family’s future.

It's a big job. Not sure where to start? Follow these tips. /blog/how-to-choose-executor-for-will Erie Insurance https://www.erieinsurance.com/-/media/images/erieinsurance/erieinsurancelogo.png

ERIE® insurance products and services are provided by one or more of the following insurers: Erie Insurance Exchange, Erie Insurance Company, Erie Insurance Property & Casualty Company, Flagship City Insurance Company and Erie Family Life Insurance Company (home offices: Erie, Pennsylvania) or Erie Insurance Company of New York (home office: Rochester, New York).  The companies within the Erie Insurance Group are not licensed to operate in all states. Refer to the company licensure and states of operation information.


The insurance products and rates, if applicable, described in this blog are in effect as of November 2019 and may be changed at any time. 


Insurance products are subject to terms, conditions and exclusions not described in this blog. The policy contains the specific details of the coverages, terms, conditions and exclusions. 


The insurance products and services described in this blog are not offered in all states.  ERIE life insurance and annuity products are not available in New York.  ERIE Medicare supplement products are not available in the District of Columbia, New York and Wisconsin.  ERIE long term care products are not available in the District of Columbia and New York. 


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