Estate planning in Washington has many moving parts and pieces that must be accounted for. Most detailed estate plans will name an executor of their will.
The executor is usually a family member or friend who Is in charge of carrying out the wishes of your will after you die. It can be a huge responsibility to act as executor, but having an executor can make the probate process go much smoother.
An executor is in charge of carrying out your will as well as doing anything in the probate process you’re not around to do anymore. This can be things like paying debts and taxes, transferring assets to beneficiaries or protect estate assets during the transition period.
Executors are responsible for filing the will, opening estate bank accounts, and notifying beneficiaries. Even the best executors can take several months to straighten everything out in probate court.
Because of the huge responsibility, executors can decline the job. In some cases, the executor will be the next of kin or appointed by the court.
Some states will have rules against who’s allowed to be an executor. Minors, former felons, and anyone with a complicated relationship with the deceased or beneficiaries might not be able to act as executor.
Examples of people who wouldn’t be good executors are ex-spouses, business partners, etc. Meanwhile, current spouses, children, siblings and parents are usually chosen to act as executors.
If you don’t name an executor, the probate court will assign an administrator – normally your lawyer or a family member. Picking the right executor can make things easier for your family and friends, as well as less expensive for them as well.