At Steslicki & Ghannam, our Plymouth estate planning attorneys represent clients throughout Michigan seeking essential legal solutions for managing and settling their estates after their death. One of the most critical decisions during this planning is determining who will be the executor of their estates.

Choose an Executor

An estate executor, also known as a personal representative or executor of an estate, is a person or institution appointed by a will or court to administer the deceased person’s estate. Here, we discuss their responsibilities and how to make an informed decision when choosing yours.

What are a Michigan Estate Executor’s Responsibilities?

A Michigan executor has many responsibilities, including ensuring that the deceased’s estate is managed and distributed according to the will and legal requirements, protecting the interests of the beneficiaries, and resolving any financial obligations.

The executor’s responsibilities typically include:

  • Filing the Will: Submitting the will to the probate court for validation.
  • Managing the Estate: Taking inventory of the deceased’s assets, including property, investments, and personal belongings.
  • Paying Debts and Taxes: Settling any outstanding debts and paying any applicable taxes the estate owes.
  • Distributing Assets: Distributing the remaining assets to the beneficiaries as specified in the will.
  • Handling Legal Matters: If the will is challenged or challenged in court, I represent the estate.
  • Maintaining Records: Keeping detailed records of all transactions and communications related to the estate.

The executor has a fiduciary duty to act in the beneficiaries’ best interests and follow the deceased’s wishes as outlined in the will. Because the responsibilities are vast, Michigan residents must make informed decisions about who will become the executor of their estate—no matter its size or value.

How Do I Make an Informed Decision When Choosing an Estate Executor in Michigan?

Choosing an estate executor is an important decision, and making an informed choice involves considering several factors to ensure the person or institution you select will effectively and responsibly manage your estate.

Considerations to help you make an informed decision when choosing an estate executor in Michigan include:

Understanding the Role and Responsibilities

  • Familiarize yourself with the duties of an executor, such as managing assets, paying debts and taxes, and distributing assets to beneficiaries.
  • Consider the complexity of your estate and the specific tasks the executor will need to handle.

Consider the Qualities of a Good Executor

  • Trustworthiness: Choose someone you trust to fulfill your wishes and manage your estate responsibly.
  • Organizational Skills: The executor must keep detailed records and manage multiple tasks simultaneously.
  • Financial Acumen: A basic understanding of finances and making sound financial decisions are essential.
  • Impartiality: Select someone who can act impartially and fairly, especially if there are potential conflicts among beneficiaries.

Assess the Potential Candidates

  • Family Members or Friends: They may have a personal understanding of your wishes and family dynamics, but consider their ability to handle the responsibilities.
  • Professional Executors: Attorneys, accountants, or corporate trustees can be hired if you have a complex estate or want a neutral party.
  • Geographical Proximity: While not a strict requirement, choosing someone who lives nearby can make managing the estate easier.

Evaluate Their Willingness and Capability

  • Ask the Candidate: Ensure the person is willing and able to serve as your executor. Discuss the responsibilities and time commitment involved.
  • Backup Executor: Name an alternate executor in case your first choice is unable or unwilling to serve.

Document Your Choice Properly

  • Clear Instructions: Name your executor and any alternates in your will.
  • Communication: Inform your chosen executor of their designation and provide them with relevant information about your estate.

By carefully considering these factors and taking the necessary steps, you can make an informed decision that ensures your estate will be managed according to your wishes and in the best interests of your beneficiaries.

Contact Our Skilled Estate Planning Attorneys in Plymouth, Michigan

If you have questions about appointing an executor for your estate, creating a will, or completing a complete estate plan, our Plymouth estate planning attorneys at Steslicki & Ghannam can answer them and help you develop a comprehensive plan covering all aspects of your estate and fulfilling your wishes.

This will give you peace of mind, knowing that your affairs are in order and your loved ones will be taken care of according to your wishes. Contact our skilled estate planning lawyers in Michigan today to learn more.