Choose the Right Estate Executor Now to Protect Your Heirs Later

executorWhile nobody wants to think of their eventual passing, getting your estate in order now is the best thing you can do to protect those you love in the future.  When you pass without a solid estate plan in place, your family may be subject to a lengthy probate process before your estate can be distributed.  One of the most important things you can do to make the process easier is to select a trustworthy executor to make sure your wishes are carried out as you intended.

Role of an executor

An executor is responsible for carrying out the terms of a deceased person’s will.  The will is a document that specifies a person’s final wishes and how they want their estate dispersed after they pass.  Acting as an executor is a big responsibility, as they become the legal representative of the deceased person’s estate.

Appointing an executor

There are a few basic requirements a person must meet in order to be named as an executor in the state of Illinois.  They must be at least 18 years old, a U.S. resident, and must be of sound mind. Additionally, Illinois prohibits anyone from serving as an executor that has a previous felony conviction.  It is wise to name an executor who lives close by, as the responsibilities may require a great deal of time, and may involve in-person appearances within the court system. However, if the executor lives outside of the state of Illinois, they may be required to post bond in some cases.

Above all, when preparing a will it is very important to name an executor who is responsible and who you trust to carry out your final wishes.  A person can refuse to accept this role, so it is smart to ask first, and then review a copy of the will beforehand to make sure everything is clear so there is no confusion after you pass.

Important duties

The primary focus of an executor is to manage and distribute a deceased person’s assets along with paying their debts.  A more detailed description of responsibilities could include (but is not limited to) the following:

  • File the will and death certificate
  • Notify others of the death (such as friends, family, financial institutions or government agencies)
  • Get legally appointed by the court to be the executor to begin the probate process
  • Set up an estate bank account
  • Represent the estate in court
  • Make an inventory of assets
  • Properly care for the estate’s assets until they can be distributed
  • Pay debts and taxes
  • Distribute assets

We are estate planning and probate experts

Whether you are planning the best way to protect your estate for your heirs or trying to navigate the probate process after a loved one has passed, chances are you will need some help along the way.  Being named as an executor can be particularly overwhelming, especially if the estate is large or the will is complicated.  Our team is highly experienced in all areas of estate planning and probate and we can help alleviate some of the stress that is often involved when dealing with these matters.  Contact our office at 847-223-1500 for further information on probate, will preparation, estate planning, trust administration and more.


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