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4 questions to ask before agreeing to be an executor

On Behalf of | Feb 9, 2023 | Fiduciary Representation |

Someone who asks you to be the executor of an estate is showing a great deal of trust in you. To be worthy of that trust, you should be honest with the individual and yourself about whether you are able to take on the responsibility.

LinkedIn suggests some questions you should ask yourself before you agree to be the executor of someone’s estate. The answers to these questions can help you gauge your readiness.

1. Is there anything in your past that would disqualify you from serving?

There is no point in agreeing to be someone’s executor if you know the court is likely to reject you. For example, if you have a history of felony conviction, you probably cannot serve as the executor of an estate.

2. Do you live in the same vicinity?

You do not have to live in the same city or county as the testator of the estate to serve as an executor. If you do, it may make things more convenient for you, but you can take care of many of the tasks remotely.

Your location is usually only an issue if you are not a U.S. citizen and you do not live in the United States. This does not necessarily preclude you from serving as an executor, but you need a co-executor who is a U.S. resident.

3. Are you confident that you will still be available to serve?

There is no rule that says you are not able to serve as an executor if you are older than the testator. However, if you are older, or in ill health, there is a chance that you may outlive not the testator. Be honest with yourself and the testator about the likelihood of this scenario.

4. Are you responsible with money?

Many of the duties of an executor involve handling money. If you are unable to handle your own finances, you may not be able to handle the estate’s either. If not, it could lead to big trouble.

If you agree to be an executor and change your mind later, it is difficult, if not impossible, to get out of the obligation. Therefore, you should be very sure before you agree.