One of the most personal decisions you can make in a lifetime is choosing someone to manage the administration of your estate when you die. If you have not designated someone to fulfill this role as part of your estate plan, and no one steps forward voluntarily to request an appointment, an Indiana probate court judge will choose someone. It’s always best to name an executor as part of your estate planning process.
There are several key issues to keep in mind when choosing an executor. When you have decided, it’s a good idea to discuss your intentions with the person you plan to designate, in case he or she does not wish to accept the appointment. You can also choose more than one person to share the duties or can have a primary executor, with an alternate named, in case the primary person dies or becomes incapacitated.
Choosing a non-local executor can cause complications and stress
When selecting an executor to your Indiana estate, it’s helpful if you choose someone who lives in this state or within easy traveling distance. An executor often must handle certain issues in person. If you choose someone who lives far away, it might become highly stressful for him or her to carry out the duties associated with executorship.
Your executor must have time to administer your estate
You might have a young adult in mind to serve as executor of your estate when you pass away. You might want to think twice about this choice if the person you have in mind has a busy schedule or family obligations. Carrying out the duties of an executor can take a lot of time. Many people choose someone who is retired or has a flexible schedule.
An executor must be objective and able to stay calm in stressful situations
This is especially important if your estate is complex, or your executor will be dealing with issues such as a blended family or someone coming forward to contest your will. Estate administration can be a messy business, especially if there is contention between beneficiaries or questions regarding the validity of an estate planning document. For these reasons, it’s best to designate someone who handles stress well and can remain objective if family members or friends become entangled in a dispute.
Age and health both matter
The executor of your estate must be 18 or older. He or she must also be of sound mind. There are other issues to consider regarding health, as well. For example, if you want to appoint a specific person, but he or she has a terminal illness or other serious health problems, there’s a chance that this person might die before you, which could either leave your estate without an executor or necessitate the use of an alternate, if you have named one in your estate plan.
Before signing any estate planning documents, make sure you understand Indiana laws. You must also be fully aware of the implications of what you’re about to do. You can seek guidance and support at any time throughout the process.