Unlike nearly two-thirds of Americans, you have an estate plan. You created a will and understood the importance of periodically updating this important document. For the latest update, you focus on a few changes, including replacing your executor.
Why? You have reasons to replace the person in this important role and think you have found another person who is a better fit. You want a trusted, available, calm and knowledgeable person as the executor, who must complete numerous tasks to settle your estate.
A change in relationship or finding a better candidate
Replacing an executor is not uncommon. Here are examples of when you should consider replacing your executor:
- Physical or mental incapacitation: Age may have something to do with this as your original choice no longer has the physical or mental capacity to successfully fulfill the executor role. Perhaps his or her memory is failing, they have a mental illness or have suffered life-changing injuries. You want a person who has the time and energy to complete the many tasks.
- Divorce: In many situations, a person chooses his or her spouse as the executor. But when a divorce occurs, it is time to revisit this decision. With a former spouse in this role, there is an increased chance of a conflict of interest, and you just may be uncomfortable having this person unravel the details of your estate and distributing assets.
- A change in your relationship: Maybe disagreements led to a falling out with your original choice. The trust between the two of you is no longer there. Your once intersecting paths have diverged and maybe the shared values you once had have eroded.
- Finding a better candidate: Maybe you had not given as much thought as you should have in selecting your original executor. Or you chose someone who was willing but did not have the skills to complete the duties. With time, knowledge and research, you found an ideal candidate who may even be younger.
- The executor no longer wants the role: The executor role is a challenging and time-consuming one in distributing assets, settling disputes among beneficiaries and paying outstanding taxes and debts. This person must be available, willing and have the stamina and knowledge. And maybe he or she realizes they no longer want this responsibility.
When things in your life change, make sure to update your will. Review every detail and previous decision, including whether to replace your executor.
Beneficiaries may thank you
Each time you update your will, please make careful consideration as to whether to keep or replace your executor. Your estate may benefit, and your beneficiaries may thank you, too.