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How to Choose an Executor for Your Estate

Wed, Dec 28, 2022 at 9:23PM

How to Choose an Executor for Your Estate

Your estate is what remains of your assets and debts after you die. Your executor is the person who manages the settling of your estate. It is therefore important for you to select an executor who will faithfully execute your wishes and who is qualified under Florida law.

What Exactly Does an Executor Do?

The executor of an estate, also known as the estate’s personal representative, is the person who manages a deceased individual’s estate according to the decedent’s wishes or probate. This duty entails:

  • Accounting for assets, including all property and financial accounts
  • Accounting for debts and liabilities, such as credit card debt
  • Gathering all important legal documents
  • Properly settling debts that remain
  • Distributing remaining assets according to law
  • Filing lawsuits on behalf of the decedent’s beneficiaries

Some of the legal documents necessary to faithfully close out an estate include:

  • The death certificate
  • The last will and testament
  • Titles and deeds to real and personal property
  • Tax returns and judgments
  • Financial statements
  • Life insurance documents

For high-value and complex estates, personal representatives are advised to hire an experienced wills attorney to help them execute their executor duties correctly. 

Who Can Be an Executor of an Estate in Florida?

Not just anyone can be an executor of an estate in Florida. With that being said, the requirements are not overly restrictive. In order to be qualified as an executor, a person must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Have the mental and physical capacities to perform the duties required
  • Be free of felony convictions

The above-listed rules apply to residents of Florida. For non-residents, a familial connection with the decedent must exist. The following individuals qualify to serve as non-resident executors:

  • Child, grandchild, and others related by lineal consanguinity
  • Adoptive child or parent
  • Sibling or person related by lineal consanguinity
  • Aunt or uncle or person related by lineal consanguinity
  • Nephew or niece or person related by lineal consanguinity

Additionally, the spouse of any person listed above may also be named as an executor of your estate if located out of state. 

Considerations for Choosing an Executor for Your Estate

Although you may have many legally viable options for your executor, it is important to choose someone who you believe can and will close out your estate faithfully. Various factors should be considered before making your choice, such as:

  • Time: The person you choose should have sufficient time to attend the proceedings
  • Distance: The executor should be close to assets and proceedings
  • Reliability: The executor should a person who is reliable and committed 

In the event you do not choose an executor before you pass away, the courts will appoint your spouse or your children as executors. 

How a Wills Attorney in Daytona Beach, Florida, Can Help

If you need assistance or guidance appointing an executor, you should know that many attorneys give free consultations for potential clients. By setting up an appointment with a wills attorney in Daytona Beach, Florida, you can get help choosing the right executor as well as assistance in other important estate matters. 

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