When a person in Florida, or elsewhere in the United States, dies without having executed a last will and testament, his or her estate becomes “intestate.” This means that a probate court judge will distribute all the assets associated with the estate in accordance with state law. This distribution may or may not align with what the decedent would have wanted. Those who want to avoid such situations make an estate plan, which typically includes a will. During the writing of a will, an estate owner usually designates an executor.
This is a solemn duty whereby the person so named is responsible for settling a decedent’s estate. The duties include notifying beneficiaries, gathering assets, settling debts and making sure the instructions of the will are carried out. For example, a decedent may have written instructions for burial. There are several things to keep in mind when choosing an executor to manage one’s estate.
More than one person can serve as executor to a Florida estate
A testator (the person executing a last will and testament) may want more than one person to serve as executor for the estate. When this is desired, it is important to choose individuals that can work together and cooperate as needed to carry out the duties of settling the estate. In other words, if a person has an adult son and daughter who cannot be in the same room together without arguing, it would be best not to name them to be co-executors in the estate administration process.
An estate owner should discuss executorship with the person he or she has in mind. Some people respectfully decline the request. A testator should choose someone who is trustworthy, dependable and able to meet in person with attorneys, CPAs or others who may be involved in the estate administration process. A Florida estate planning attorney can provide support and recommendations when choosing an executor, as well as to help resolve any legal complications that may arise when planning one’s estate.