Essential Estate Planning – The Executor

In this week’s blog entry we’re going to look at one of the people who will play a key role in your estate plan; the executor. As with anything you read about estate planning, it’s vital that you first speak to a lawyer whenever you have questions, or need advice, about the process. Until then, however, here is what you should know about executors and what they do when it comes to your estate plan.

An executor is someone who manages your estate

Executors, or, as they are more commonly known today, personal representatives, serve as the administrators of the estates left behind by decedents in the state of Colorado. What this means is that the executor is a court appointed person who receives the legal authority to take control over the property left behind by a deceased person. Personal representatives have a legal obligation to ensure that that property is properly manage until they can determine who the rightful legal inheritors are.

You get to choose your executor

When you create an estate plan you will have to choose a number of people who will have the legal responsibility of serving in very important role in your plan. For example, when you create a power of attorney you will have to select a person, or organization, who will serve as your agent, and who will receive the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf.

Similarly, making an estate plan will allow you to choose who you want your executor to be. When you create a last will and testament in Colorado you can select one or more people to serve as your estate executor. The people you choose will have to be capable, and willing, adults who can take on the responsibilities associated with managing an estate. While you can choose multiple executors, it’s most common to name a single choice and include backups in case the first choice is unable or unwilling to serve.

A court will approve of your nomination, or name and executor of its choosing

When you write a last will and testament and nominate an executor to serve as your estate administrator, it falls to a probate court to approve your nomination. Once approved, the court will then give your executor the legal authority to begin managing and distributing your estate through the probate process.

However, if a court deems that your chosen executor is unsuitable, or you fail to choose an executor, the court will choose an estate administrator on its own.

Further, regardless of who chooses the executor, the court will play a key supervisory role in the probate process that follows.

More questions?  Call us!

For more information on executors, be sure to attend one of our complementary workshops in October.  Catherine Hammond will be talking about the difference between Wills and Trusts, the trouble with joint tenancy, and much more.  Register for one of these workshops on our website.  If you prefer not to attend a workshop, give us a call at 719-520-1474 or 303-736-6060 and we will try and answer any questions you have.

Author Bio

Catherine Hammond is the CEO and founder of Hammond Law Group, a Colorado-based estate planning law firm she founded in 2005. With a strong focus on protecting families from the legal consequences of disability and death, she creates comprehensive estate plans that minimize taxes, costs, and government interference.

A native of Denver, Catherine completed her undergraduate studies at Coe College in Iowa, and her Juris Doctorate from the University of Denver College of Law in 1993, concentrating on estate planning, tax, and mediation. Catherine is a member of various professional organizations, including WealthCounsel, ElderCounsel, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, the Colorado Springs Estate Planning Council, and the Purposeful Planning Institute. Beyond her legal expertise, Catherine provides transformational coaching to support clients and their families through life transitions.

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