Once you have decided to set up your estate plan, you will need to choose an executor for your will. An executor is a person who carries out your wishes according to the terms of your will after you pass away.
Being an executor of a will in Illinois comes with many responsibilities, so it is important to choose the right person.
The role of an executor
Before you choose an executor, you should understand what an executor does. The executor you choose will be responsible for identifying and locating all assets listed in your will, paying any of your outstanding debts and distributing your assets according to the terms of your will.
Your executor could also be required to file a final tax return on your behalf and take care of any other administrative tasks for closing out your estate.
Essential skills of an executor
You may have someone in mind you would like to serve as your executor but be sure that they can handle these tasks. You need someone who is capable of following instructions, complying with legal requirements and proactive enough to follow through with their duties.
Additionally, choose someone with good organizational skills and who pays attention to detail. Your executor should also be someone you trust to carry out the terms of your will and not engage in any fraud or dishonesty.
There are practical considerations with choosing an executor, as well. Your executor should be someone that you still expect to be able and available to serve as an executor when you pass away.
For example, you might want one of your parents to be your executor. However, in the absence of an unexpected tragedy, chances are you will likely outlive your parents and they will not be available.
You can choose more than one person as an executor if you wish and have co-executors. However, this can sometimes lead to disputes between the executors and make things more complicated.
Choosing an executor should not be a hasty decision. Everyone’s situation is different, so having professional advice on yours could help.