How to Ask Someone to Be Your Executor
If you’ve thought about estate planning, you’re already ahead of the game to ensure peace of mind for your loved ones one day when you’re no longer there. Many families are commonly saddled with the uncertainty of dividing the assets upon death without knowing your best wishes; this is when one neglects the responsibility of setting up a will early on in life.
All legalities aside, estate planning also involves a personal element when you have to take stock of who you want to execute your will upon your death. For some, this can be a somewhat awkward and tedious conversation since the responsibilities of an executor span from selling off property to paying off estate debts.
This article will help you find and approach a trustworthy executor for your estate in full observance of your final wishes.
Choosing the Right Person
After going through all the legal nonsense to get your will on paper, the next step will be choosing the right person to realize your final wishes. You may have someone in mind, but you never quite considered the type of person they would have to be to administer your estate without hiccups.
Before choosing your intended executor, you will want to consider aspects of their person, such as whether or not they are responsible for handling their finances. According to Advisor’s Edge, this could mean the difference between leaving behind a good legacy and a tainted one.
It may take some investigating, but it will give you peace of mind that they will handle yours carefully.
Another significant aspect to consider is that of time. Will your person be able to avail themselves of this responsibility decades from now? This is a polite way of asking if the intended executor has any health risks or otherwise that would threaten their availability to execute your estate.
It’s also important to understand whether or not your person would take certain liberties if circumstances changed after your death. For example, would they neglect to allocate your spouse’s inheritance upon news that she was unfaithful during your marriage or moved on after your death? If the answer to this is no, you have a keeper. BottomLineInc provides a comprehensive list of considerations before choosing an ideal executor.
The key to choosing an executor is integrity – that they will follow through on your stipulated wishes irrespective of changing circumstances.
Getting Them On Board
It’s important to remember that most individuals will never actually serve as executors in their lives. You can likely expect the conversation to be a little bit awkward or they’ll find the request unexpected. Naturally, your friend or family member probably won’t know what is expected of them when the day comes to fulfill the role.
Following asking them to administer your estate in the wake of your death, the ideal thing to do would be to provide them with an outline of expectations and responsibilities regarding your will. In such a case, getting your estate lawyer involved in the explanation process is advisable to provide a clear framework of your executor’s actions.
What usually aids in making the conversation a little more sincere is to tell the person why you chose them to be your executor. For example, their high moral character or overall honor may stand out to you and make you feel they would do due diligence to realize your final wishes. You may also recognize the person as one of objective standing; they won’t favor any heir over another.
Choosing a Time and a Place
Estate planning is a serious business, so deciding on the right time and place is paramount to getting a good outcome. It’s also important to consider the person’s frame of mind, so ensure that you ask the big question when they aren’t plagued by personal or work stress as far as you can.
An ideal place would be inside your or their home or in an intimate setting. Avoid popping the question in group situations where your request could be perceived as tongue-in-cheek.
Accept That They May Refuse
Contrary to popular belief, only some people close to you will deem it a profound honor to execute your will so that they may reject your request.
This isn’t something that you should take personally. Some people just aren’t comfortable with such a level of responsibility and shy away from getting in the middle of family matters. Whatever the reason, give them the room to say no without getting angry or disappointed.
Remember that no one is obligated to accept responsibility as your executor, no matter how close to you. More often than not, the onus for dividing another’s assets per their wishes can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to keeping the peace while still adhering to your nearest and dearest final requests.
Be Honest About the Challenges Involved
Before they accept your request, ensure that your ideal executor is fully clued up on some of the challenges associated with being your executor. Being an executor isn’t always sunshine and roses. It can often be fraught with lots of administration and people management on the shoulders of someone who may not be prepared to endure such in your memory.
The last thing you want is for your executor to be caught by surprise by nasty in-fighting, for example. If you pre-empt that conflict may arise among your beneficiaries, it is wise to warn them about this when first discussing the role.
After being told of potential challenges in administering your estate, your person has the room to decide whether or not it’s something they’re up for when the time comes – blinkers up!
Disclosing Your Financials
If you have a relatively small estate, serving as an executor may not be as hefty a responsibility. The opposite is true when you have a complex estate.
The executor of a larger estate will likely run into much hassle and will have to invest a lot of time and energy into this commitment.
Therefore, it’s crucial to play open cards with your intended executor from the outset as to just how much or how little work lies ahead for them should they choose to accept.
Let Them Ask Questions
Being asked to be an executor of someone’s will in the wake of their death is an overwhelming business overall. People are often fraught with questions in a position they never thought they would be in. It’s essential to make your intended executor feel comfortable enough to ask questions and that they aren’t obligated to accept.
Once you’re done laying out why you chose them and the attached responsibilities, give them the room to ask their most burning questions. These may not come immediately, and they may need time to think it over, where more questions may arise.
Keep the communication lines open. Remember that the more information you can provide, the more informed a decision they will be able to make.
A glaring reality is that your first choice will likely reject this responsibility on the grounds mentioned. So you may have to ask more than one of your trusted confidants or companions to be your executor.
Things may become extra complicated if you have strained relations with beneficiaries in your will and your intended executor has their interests to preserve. This may be the time to call in the pros. In an instance of dire straits and where you feel your wishes are at risk of not being fully realized, we advise you to hire a professional, impartial executor to get the job done.
If you have yet to complete your will, contact us at Kalicki Collier to facilitate your estate planning today.