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Is a family member the best fit for an executor?

On Behalf of | May 8, 2021 | Estate Planning

As Georgia residents begin creating their estate plans, they will likely reach a point at which they need to decide who should be in charge of closing the estate. This person is known as the executor and has numerous responsibilities to handle during probate. Probate is a legal process, and it can take months, if not years in some cases, to properly settle someone’s final affairs. Because this process is so personal and important, many people think that they should appoint a family member. However, is that the best decision? 

Certainly, having a trusted person in charge of probate is essential. Still, family members do not have to be the only option to consider. In some cases, a close outside party may be better equipped to handle the process or even a professional service experienced in settling estates. No matter who is on the candidate list, it is always wise to discuss the matter with the candidate before naming someone in formal planning documents. 

Some people may not fully understand why a family member would not fit this role, but the following circumstances could apply: 

  • The family member lives far away and could not easily handle all probate matters in the appropriate state. 
  • A family member could face a great deal of grief after a loved one’s passing and may not have the emotional ability to handle probate on top of coping with the loss. 
  • The family member does not have the skills to properly handle every detail that goes into closing an estate. 
  • The family member may have other personal responsibilities that prevent him or her from having the time to handle probate. 

If an individual believes that a family member would be perfect for the role of the executor, it is worth discussing the matter with the candidate. However, it is important to keep in mind that the person could refuse. It is better to have someone willing and able to handle Georgia probate proceedings rather than putting a loved one in a difficult spot. 

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