Julie Hall is an expert in dealing with personal property from the Depression era. Estate dissolution and helping grieving families make appropriate decisions during the estate settlement process are her specialties. She is a certified personal property appraiser, an estate sales professional, a residential content removal specialist, and a broker of fine items. As owner of The Estate Lady®, LLC, she brings 18 years of experience to families facing the overwhelming task of dissolving the family home.
If there is truly a job that no one wants, it has to be executor of an estate. Being the executor requires great time and effort, and it is usually a thankless job.
Mom and Dad, if you are choosing an executor, here are some suggestions. First, I recommend that you select an executor who is up to the challenge and has your best interests at heart. He or she shouldn't be a procrastinator or too advanced in age. Heirs or your children who will receive benefit from the estate are not usually the best choice.
Don’t worry about hurting anyone’s feelings when you make your choice. This is your estate, and it must be handled in a manner that is comfortable to you. To do the job well, the executor must put your desires and wishes before anything else.
Help your executor while you are still living. Prepare your important papers (e.g., your last will and testament), and make sure your executor knows where to find them. Be sure to keep them updated every few years.
Besides your important legal papers, does your family know your last wishes? Do they know how you wish to distribute your belongings? Be sure that specific bequests are spelled out in your last will and testament. If you want Susie to receive your china and Frank to receive your books, create a master list of these items to store with your important papers.
Better yet, why not “gift” your possessions while you are still alive? You’ll have the pleasure of seeing the joy on your heirs’ faces when they receive that piece of jewelry or collectible they have always wanted. You’ll also reap the benefit of saving your children from struggles and feuds after you pass away.
By Julie Hall
The Estate Lady Blog
[First posted October 25, 2010, at Julie Hall's Estate Lady Web site.]