By: Rocky Mountain Wills & Trusts

what is the role of an executor in estate planning

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The Role of the Executor in Estate Planning

‘What will happen to my loved ones after I’m gone?’ is not a question we like to consider, not just because it asks us to consider our own mortality but also because of the feeling of helplessness the question can present.

However, with proper estate planning, you will not be helpless. A well-written will and a capable executor could help make things much easier for your family in the event of your passing.

But what is the role of the executor in estate planning?

What Duties is the Executor Entrusted With?

The executor will be entrusted to act in the best interests of your legacy, your estate, and your beneficiaries. As your fiduciary, the responsibilities of the executor role include:

  • Reviewing all estate plan documents.
  • Notifying all necessary beneficiaries and creditors.
  • Gathering all the assets of the estate.
  • Filing tax returns.
  • Paying off any outstanding taxes or debts.
  • Ensuring that all creditors and business interests are taken care of.
  • Probate court, if necessary.
  • Distribute remaining assets to assigned beneficiaries.

Serving as an executor is a huge responsibility. It can mean the handling of a lot of information and a large investment of time. The typical fee for the executor is about 2% of the estate.

Who Can Serve as an Executor in the State of Colorado?

Every state has slightly different requirements for who can serve as the executor of an estate. In Colorado, the law asks that every executor be at least 21 years of age and of ‘sound mind.’ Probate courts could reject a selection for an executor if they believe the individual to be ‘unsuitable for formal proceedings.’

Unlike other states, Colorado will allow for estate executors to have been previously convicted of a felony. Additionally, Colorado does not enforce any special requirements for out-of-state executors.

What Other Considerations Should Be Made in Selecting an Estate Executor?

Dealing with the death of a loved one is never easy. However, selecting the right executor could make things a lot easier during the stressful weeks and months following someone’s passing. In addition to the basic state requirements, what other considerations should be taken in selecting the right person as an estate’s executor?

Obviously, the individual you select should be trustworthy and responsible with their and other people’s time. They should also be someone who is comfortable with working with and talking to professionals in a legal setting. And while you may select someone who lives outside of Colorado to be your executor, choosing someone closer to home will make it easier on them.

It is worth remembering that, unfortunately, sometimes conflict can arise in these difficult, emotional situations. Your executor may need to be an impartial mediator. It’s smart to select someone up for the job. Contact our law firm today at (720) 420-1039 to learn more about how we can help you with your situation.