Planning Your Legacy

5 Questions Every Executor Should Ask

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5 Questions Every Good Executor Should Ask

Named as an executor of an estate? Here are five key questions to ask yourself to make sure you’re the right person for the job.

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It's a privilege to be named an executor. But it's not a task for everyone – and it's also one you can legally (and gracefully) refuse. Here are a few questions to ask yourself before accepting the call.

Do I have the time?

Settling an estate can sometimes take years, although it doesn't have to. You'll be wrangling documents, wrestling with paperwork, making multiple phone calls and even rifling through countless personal effects.

Can I afford it?

How valuable is your time? Do you have to travel far from home to manage the estate? In most states, executors are entitled to take a percentage of the estate's value, even if a fee isn't specified in the will.

Do I have the right skills?

Someone who has good financial and common sense will do well as an executor. Being well-organized is also key. You'll be keeping records of everything you collect and inventory.

Do I have the right temperament?

You may have to summon your detective skills to dig for assets, accounts and details. You'll also be dealing with different personalities and possibly family disputes. Patience and calm are true virtues in these circumstances.

Am I a good communicator?

Establishing open communication with the will's beneficiaries and potential heirs early and often will take you far throughout the probate process.

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