When a close family member is building their estate plan, there is much you can do to assist in the process. End-of-life planning is not easy to tackle, but your loved one will benefit from your support and encouragement.
If your loved one names you as their executor in their will, however, you might find yourself with more responsibility than you expected. It is crucial for you to understand what exactly it means to be an executor and what your options are for refusing the role if you so choose.
What are the responsibilities of an executor?
The executor of an estate fulfills the duty of settling the deceased’s affairs. This includes taking inventory of the deceased’s assets, closing financial accounts, filing the necessary documents and more. As the executor, you will also play an important role during the probate process of verifying the validity of the will and overseeing the distribution of assets to the deceased’s beneficiaries.
Can you refuse to be an executor?
Receiving the role of executor can be a sign of deep trust from the will’s writer, but it is also a significant responsibility that you might understandably wish to refuse. Keep in mind that you have no obligation to proceed as the executor of an estate. If there is no willing executor named in the deceased’s estate plan, the court will assign a suitable and impartial individual for the task.
If a loved one names you as the executor of their estate, it falls to you to see to their affairs in their stead after death. It is a worthwhile task to fulfill for the sake of your family, but be aware that it requires significant time and commitment.