While creating your will, one of the most important decisions you must make has to do with who will execute it. Most often, you may task your spouse, adult children or a close confidant with this role. And in instances where you have complex family dynamics or complicated assets, you may nominate a professional like a certified accountant or a legal counsel as your will’s executor.
However, it is not uncommon for a dispute to arise between the testator, executor and even the beneficiaries. When a difference arises between you and your will’s executor, it may make sense to relieve them of this role.
Understanding the executor’s roles
Basically, the executor’s primary role is to administer the testator’s will. Here are some of the duties and obligations of the testator.
- Identifying and attending to the testator’s estate and administering it according to the provisions of the will and the law.
- Providing a complete inventory of the testator’s estate and submitting an account of their administered when required by the probate court.
- Settle any debts and estate taxes left behind by the testator
- Distributing the testator’s assets according to the will
Sometimes, the executor may also be responsible for arranging the testator’s funeral upon their demise.
Grounds for changing an executor
An executor can be changed by the testator or the beneficiaries through the probate court. If trust is lost between the testator and the executor (say after a contentious divorce), the testator may have reasons to rewrite their will, and with it appoint a new executor. Still, if the executor fails to respect the wishes of the testator, then the beneficiaries may petition for their removal.
Other reasons for removing an executor from their role include dishonesty, fraud, gross mismanagement of the testator’s estate and incompetence.
A will is one of the most important estate planning tools you can create. Find out how you can create a will that reflects your wishes.