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Personal PlanningReady For The Role?


This article was reviewed by Chris Singer, CFP®.

Four tips for an executor

Have you said yes to be an executor for someone’s will? Do you know what the role entails? If you talk with someone that has performed the duties it can be a lot more work than you might first think. Here are some tips to help prepare you for the task.

If you are asking yourself, what is an executor, here goes. An executor is the person named in a will to carry out the requests and estate distribution of the deceased.

Here are four tips that can help prepare you for the role:

  1. The Will– This is the most important document that you will need, you should know where it is located. Sounds simple but often times family members cannot locate this critical document.
  2. List of Assets & Liabilities – You will need to know what the person owns and what they owe. The list should include details such as bank accounts, investment accounts, mortgages, loans, insurance policies, and properties (foreign and domestic). For example, the list should include what bank the account is with and its address. This will save you from having to hunt endlessly for information.
  3. Digital World– As more and more people move to e-statements and digital storage, it is important to know the usernames and passwords for the individual. Since passwords can change on regular basis you may want to keep an up to date list and let the executor know where that is. Don’t forget to include social media sites and your computer login (if it has a password to access it). Having access to the individual’s email once they pass away will be very important.
  4. List of Professionals – It is helpful to have a list of their professionals that they use such as lawyer, accountant, financial planner, investment advisor, and insurance advisor. Since they are familiar with the individuals financial world they can be a great help to you in executing your duties.

These are just a few helpful tips for being prepared for the role of executor. As financial planners we are often one of the first points of contact for the family members or executor. We do have an executor handbook that offers checklists, information and advice for the role. If you would like a copy please feel free to email us.