If you are thinking about creating an estate plan, it’s crucial to appoint an executor to carry out your wishes to give you control over your assets instead of the courts.
Nonetheless, some individuals have some misunderstandings regarding executors. Below are four common misconceptions about executors and the facts behind them.
Identifying the facts
Misconception: “Executor” and “attorney of power” are synonymous terms
Fact: An executor handles affairs like outstanding debts, court duties and asset distribution upon your passing. A power of attorney takes care of medical and/or financial matters while you’re still alive.
Misconception: I can only have one executor
Fact: You don’t have to limit yourself to one executor. It’s okay to have more than one, aka co-executors. Each co-executor has 100 percent power over the estate.
Parents usually make all of their adult children co-executors to avoid accusations of favoritism. However, while appointing co-executors eases the burden of estate control, it presents issues like conflicts and inefficiencies.
Misconception: Executors can only be family members
Fact: While it’s convenient to make a spouse, adult children or other relatives executors, an executor does not have to be related to you. (In fact, assigning executing duties to a non-relative can come in handy if you have no living relatives or they are not in your life due to estrangement.)
Regardless, a potential executor should be trustworthy, responsible and possess financial acumen.
Misconception: I’m not allowed to have an alternate executor
Fact: It’s recommended to name an alternate executor because anything can happen to your initial executor(s) like death, moving or change of plans. A probate court will ensure an alternate executor fulfills their duties.
It’s good to know the basics behind the executor appointing process. If you still have questions about executors or estate planning overall, consider seeking experienced legal assistance for guidance.