William J. Benz, Attorney at Law
Probate, Estates, Business and Real Estate
Of Counsel to Howland, Hess, Guinan, Torpey, Cassidy and O’Connell, LLP
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Understanding how to select an executor in Pennsylvania

| Mar 18, 2021 | Probate And Estate Administration |

In Pennsylvania and across the United States, a rising number of people are grasping the importance of proper estate planning. The current health crisis has emphasized the reality that people can face life-threatening issues at any time and it is wise to be prepared. Probate and estate administration can be confusing to people who are unsure about the process, but there are avenues available to learn how to move forward with a plan that fits the individual needs. A critical decision is naming an executor.

How should an executor be chosen?

Selecting an executor is a big decision. There are inherent responsibilities that some people are not suited to complete. Others have the maturity and wisdom to follow through with the requirements of being an executor. If the testator dies and the executor cannot do the job, it can muddle the situation and lead to dispute among the heirs. The executor oversees the entire estate after the testator dies. There are myriad aspects of being an effective executor.

The testator’s will must be filed, debts must be paid, accounts must be closed and assets must be distributed according to the person’s wishes. These duties will be left to the executor. If a person is untrustworthy or has a history of putting things off until later, then that individual might not be able to handle the job. For busy people with families, it is smart to discuss whether he or she will devote the necessary attention to being the executor. The length of time it takes to settle an estate will vary. If it is a limited estate, it will generally take less than one year. Those who have significant assets to address should expect it to take much longer. Some people want more than one individual to be the executor. This can be done, but it is important that they can work in tandem.

Professional advice can be helpful with an executor’s duties

Estate planning, estate administration and probate can be complicated. Often, people are unaware of how difficult it can be beforehand and feel overwhelmed. People who are crafting an estate plan should know the ins and outs of picking an executor. The executor should be prepared to do what is asked and be cognizant of the responsibilities. Those who may be impacted by problems that tend to arise with executors should consider their legal options and have professional guidance from the start.