Can the Executor of a Will also Be a Beneficiary?
As you and your Kingwood estate planning attorney prepare your will, you will no doubt face many decisions. Whom you name as the executor of your estate is one that is particularly important, given the responsibility that individual will carry. Indeed, it is often the case that a named beneficiary also assumes this role.
The Duties of the Executor
It is important that you take the time to consider carefully who would be the best choice for executor of your will. The duties of the executor are significant enough that you need to make sure that your selection is the most optimal. That said, unless yours is a very large estate it is probably not necessary to appoint a professional to the task.
Among the duties of the executor are:
- Determining all of your remaining assets and their location
- Managing these assets while your will is in probate
- Making payments for outstanding debts and taxes
- Distributing the remainder of the estate to your named beneficiaries
Issues to Consider before Naming a Beneficiary as Executor
Both advantages and disadvantages should be weighed before you make a decision about naming the person who will handle your estate after you die. You may, in fact, consider naming a co-executor. This person can offer assistance to you in the event that a conflict arises. Also, if other beneficiaries do not like your choice of executor and petition the court to remove the individual, the co-executor gives the court a second option. Otherwise, the court may need to make a selection that would be against your wishes.
A person you name in your will to inherit assets is likely to be someone very close to you. You know who among those in your family and circle of friends is most trustworthy. Indeed, one of your beneficiaries may be particularly adept at handling financial affairs. It is logical that you may wish to select this person for the task. Also, an executor who also is a beneficiary may be willing to waive the compensation that is normally given for these services. After all, this compensation will reduce the amount of assets that are to be divided among beneficiaries.
There are potential disadvantages to naming a beneficiary as executor, however. For one, other beneficiaries may not trust this individual. Such an issue could slow down the probate process and delay distribution of assets. Also, if considerable taxes and other debts exist that are to be paid, a small estate may become insolvent, and therefore leave nothing for the beneficiaries. This has the potential for a conflict of interest on the part of your executor/beneficiary. Still, the court will closely monitor all actions taken by the executor, so any occasion for wrongdoing is limited.
For Assistance with Your Estate Planning Needs
Naming the executor is only one of many important decisions that you need to make when writing your will. It is important that you work with a Kingwood estate planning attorney who will take the time to answer your questions and provide you with the support you need. Call Peterson Law Group today at 281-609-0664 or 832-786-5062.