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Is Naming Your Child As Executor the Right Decision?

When you name an executor in your New Jersey will, they need to be at least 18 years old. Although it’s common for people to name one of their children as their executor, you don’t have to. In some situations, it’s better for you to choose another person for this important role.

Are They Responsible?

One of the most important questions to ask yourself about each candidate for executor of your estate is whether they are responsible. Serving as an executor is a lot of work. If you ask others who have fulfilled this role, they will tell you it was more work than they expected. There are a lot of tasks that they have to stay on top of, such as filing your final tax return, notifying any creditors of your death and distributing your assets after creditors have claimed what they are allowed to.

For families with small estates, the executor can get through the paperwork and tasks faster. If you have a high asset estate, however, the complexity makes the process take longer. Only a person who is good at meeting deadlines and handling “boring tasks” is right for this role.

Do They Work Long Hours?

Someone who works a lot and has a hectic schedule might not be the best choice. How much time do they get for themselves? If they’re not taking much time for themselves, then it may be overwhelming for them to serve as your executor. You could talk with them to check if they think they would be able to and interested in fulfilling the duties of the executor of your estate.

Do They Get Along With Your Beneficiaries?

A common issue that estate planning lawyers observe is conflict among beneficiaries. Ideally, the person you name as executor will get along with all of your beneficiaries. If they don’t, then they should at least have the ability to keep their emotions out of the situation to enforce the terms of your estate plan.

Do They Live Out of State?

An important factor to consider when choosing an executor is whether they live out of state or they are likely to one day live out of state. New Jersey requires out-of-state executors to post a bond to serve. You’ll need to let your executor know about this so that they’re prepared.

Are They Willing to Consult With Professionals?

It’s a good idea for executors to consult with professionals to ensure that they complete all of the necessary tasks correctly. Consulting with professionals also helps save them time so that they can complete probate faster. If your child doesn’t find it important to seek professional help, then they might not be the best choice, especially if your estate is complex.

Do They Want the Responsibility?

Some people don’t want to be executors and even go as far as declining the role. Thus, you should check with them before naming them as your executor. In New Jersey, the probate court appoints an administrator when the person named as executor is unwilling to serve. The surviving spouse or domestic partner is given first priority for the role.

There Are Options If You Can’t Think of Someone

You have the option of assigning a corporate fiduciary of your estate when you’re unable to find a suitable person from your family and friends. They are bound by the law to have a fiduciary responsibility to you, so you can have confidence in letting a professional manage your estate. Another benefit of choosing a corporate fiduciary is they have experience. They are less likely to make mistakes, have bias or engage in conflict with a beneficiary. It can allow for a smoother process when your assets are distributed among your beneficiaries. You could consult with an estate planning lawyer to help you make a decision on whom to name as your executor as well. They can guide you through recognizing the pros and cons of each option and comparing it to what’s most important to you.

Naming your child as executor is a decision that only you can make after you’ve become aware of what to look for in a good executor. Contact The Knee Law Firm at 201-996-1200 for estate planning assistance in Hackensack, New Jersey.