When you finally sit down to create your estate plan, one of the first decisions you will likely make is choosing someone to be the executor of your Last Will and Testament. People often give this appointment very little thought because they fail to understand how important the position actually is.
The executor of your estate is responsible for taking your entire estate through the probate process. Depending on the size and complexity of your estate, the probate process can last months, even years. Your executor is responsible for locating all your estate assets and inventorying them as well as providing a date of death value for each asset. This alone can be a daunting task. Your executor must then follow your estate through the probate process and represent your estate in court. Creditors must be paid and any challenges to your Will must be defended by your executor.
If you leave behind a moderate to large estate, your executor will likely retain the services of an estate planning attorney, and accountant, and possibly professional appraisers; however, ultimately, your executor is responsible for seeing your estate through the probate process. Not only can this be time intensive, but your executor will have to make numerous important decisions that can significantly impact the value of your estate. One misstep with regard to estate taxes, for example, could cost your estate thousands of dollars.
Given the importance of the role of executor, be sure that you give the appointment sufficient thought and consideration.