Being an executor is not an easy job. There will be financial matters, legal matters and emotional matters for you to navigate — and some of these issues may not be things you’re familiar with. For example, have you ever had to balance the desires of two brothers fighting over a prized family painting? Have you ever had to read an investment account statement? Do you know anything about taxes?
As an estate executor, you can always reach out to a qualified attorney for help and assistance, but it’s important to also know what you’re getting into before you say “yes” to a friend who’s asking you to fulfill this role on their behalf. Here are three things to keep in mind before you agree to serve as an executor for a friend or family member’s estate:
1) Is there enough time in the day?
Many people wrongly assume that the probate process after someone dies — which is what you will manage as the executor — will take a few months to wrap up. While some estates do get resolved in a short period of time, others drag on for years. Yes, years. In addition, being an executor could represent an enormous time commitment on a daily basis. Make sure you’re prepared for the long haul before you agree to this responsibility.
2) Do you have the requisite skills?
As an estate executor, you’ll be speaking with banking reps, investment reps, legal advisers, tax advisers, appraisers and more. While you can learn as you go — and anything is possible with the aid of an experienced probate administration attorney — make sure you feel comfortable in the world of paperwork, finances and taxes.
3) Are you calm, cool and collected?
To serve as an estate representative or executor, you need to have a calm, business-oriented mindset. It’s essential to leave your emotions behind and make practical decisions given the cold hard facts at hand. Becoming emotional could be disastrous for the estate and its beneficiaries.
Be honest with yourself: Can you stay calm, cool and collected? If not, you might want to leave this responsibility to someone else because it could create a tremendous emotional stress and burden for you.
Of course, the above considerations are just the tip of the iceberg. As you approach the day that you will serve as an executor — if you accept this responsibility — keep learning as much as you can about Florida estate planning law. As you carry out your executorship duties, knowing the law is half the battle.