Can my attorney be the executor of my will? First and foremost, the attorney in question must have the requisite competence which is inclusive of specific knowledge about this very field of view. And if it is that you are considering the designation of your attorney as the executor, then you should do well to confirm his or her experience in this very practice area.
Can My Attorney Be the Executor of My Will
Many clients do ask if they should name their attorney as the Executor of their Estates. Although this very practice has been commonly accepted in many places such as New Hampshire for many years now, it is however not required or even recommended for most clients.
And in recognition of the potential conflicts of interest which can well arise when an attorney gets to draft a Will for a client which designates the drafting attorney (or even another member of the same law firm) as an Executor, an ethics opinion then clarifies the issues which need to be considered in this very designation. (The very same concepts get to apply to the designation of Trustees, Guardians, Agents as well as other fiduciaries.)
Things to Consider When Making Your Attorney the Executor of Your Will
In most jurisdictions, it is legally possible for your attorney to be named as the executor of your will. However, there are some important considerations to keep in mind:
Conflict Of Interest
Having your attorney serve as the executor could potentially create a conflict of interest. As the executor, they have a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of your estate and beneficiaries. If they are also your attorney, their professional duties might be in conflict with their duties as the executor.
Some jurisdictions have specific rules or restrictions regarding who can serve as an executor. For example, some states may prohibit attorneys from serving as executors of their clients’ wills. You should check the laws in your jurisdiction to see if there are any limitations on who can serve as an executor.
Professional Rules and Ethics
In some places, legal professional rules and ethics may discourage or restrict attorneys from acting as executors for their clients’ wills due to the potential conflicts of interest and to maintain client confidentiality.
Consider whether your attorney has the time and expertise to handle the responsibilities of being an executor. Administering an estate can be complex and time-consuming, and it’s essential to have someone who can fulfill the duties diligently.
If you are considering appointing your attorney as the executor of your will, it is crucial to seek legal advice from a qualified attorney in your jurisdiction. They can help you navigate specific laws and regulations and provide guidance on the best course of action for your unique circumstances. Additionally, it may be wise to consider naming an alternate executor in case your attorney is unable or unwilling to serve when the time comes.
Who Is the Best Person to Be Named an Executor
The best person to be an executor of a will can vary depending on individual circumstances and preferences. Here are some qualities and considerations to look for when choosing an executor:
The executor should be someone you trust implicitly to carry out your wishes as stated in the will and to handle the estate’s affairs responsibly and honestly.
Organizational And Financial Skills
An executor needs to be organized, detail-oriented, and capable of managing financial matters, as they will be responsible for gathering and distributing assets, paying debts, and handling tax matters.
Availability And Willingness
Choose someone who is willing to take on the responsibilities of being an executor and who has the time to dedicate to the task. Administering an estate can be time-consuming, so the person should be willing to commit the necessary effort.
The executor should be able to act impartially and fairly, especially if there are multiple beneficiaries with potentially conflicting interests.
Legal And Financial Knowledge
While not a strict requirement, having some knowledge of legal and financial matters can be beneficial for the executor to navigate the legal requirements and procedures involved in estate administration.
It can be helpful if the executor lives relatively close to where the estate’s assets are located, as this can make it easier to handle matters on-site.
Consider the relationships between potential executors and beneficiaries. Choosing someone who can remain neutral and handle family disputes impartially can help avoid conflicts during the probate process.
Common choices for executors include a spouse, adult child, close friend, sibling, or a trusted advisor, such as an attorney or financial advisor. Some people also choose a professional executor, such as a bank or a trust company, particularly if they anticipate complex or contentious estate issues.
MORE RELATED POSTS