Compassionate And Competent

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Does your estate’s executor need to be your adult child?

On Behalf of | Mar 16, 2023 | ESTATE PLANNING - Estate Administration & Probate

In many cases, a responsible adult child will effectively administer a parent’s estate. Those responsibilities are many and include paying outstanding taxes and debt, distributing assets such as money from retirement investments, bank and money market accounts, and settling disputes among heirs and beneficiaries.

But, sometimes, disputes may boil over, and it is not a good idea to enlist an adult child as the executor. This is something you especially do not want to do if the relationships between your surviving adult children contain animosity and mistrust.

Other options: friend, relative, accountant and trust company

The main thing you must understand is that your executor must be responsible.

If you sense trouble naming an adult child as the executor of your estate, do not do so. Avoiding in-fighting is crucial if your adult children do not like each other. In instances in which one of the bickering siblings is named executor, he or she may seek revenge on the other, leading to delays and difficulty.

Remember that you have other and better options. As an alternative, this list of potential executors may include a trusted friend, a trusted relative, an attorney, an accountant, a bank or trust company.

Qualities you want in an executor

Here are some key qualities that you want in an executor:

  • Responsible
  • Trustworthy
  • In solid financial standing
  • Patient and level-headed
  • Available
  • Organized
  • Decisive

This checklist of qualities represents a strong foundation for an executor. Make sure that the person you choose understands the responsibilities of this important role and takes them seriously.

Avoiding a tumultuous situation

Naming an adult child as your executor may work out. However, if you sense that doing so may simply cause too much trouble for your estate and your loved ones’ sanity, pursue a different route. Even the adult children who sought the executor role, but did not get it, may thank you. Your decision likely helped avoid a tumultuous situation.