At What Age Should You Put Your Children in Charge of Your Estate?

naperville estate planning lawyerIf you are a parent, you know just how vital estate planning is for your family. Parents who pass away without a will and other estate planning documents leave personal decisions about property and healthcare up to their children. When parents die intestate, the children and other family members are essentially forced to guess what the parents’ final wishes are. This can be an enormous burden to bear.

Creating a comprehensive estate plan and sharing your wishes with your children is crucial. You may also wish to make your child the executor of your estate. But when is the right time to share your estate plans with your children or put them in charge of your wishes? How do you know when a child is mature enough to handle the important responsibility?

Executor Duties in Illinois

The executor of an estate is in charge of administering the estate, carrying out the deceased person’s wishes, following probate laws, and settling the final affairs. The executor has many duties, including filing the will with the county court, valuing assets, totaling debts, and distributing assets according to the will. It is usually a good idea for the executor to open a bank account for the estate, which is used to pay the deceased person’s bills and ensure the proper accounting of the money. The executor will be given special authority to work with banks and other financial institutions to distribute the deceased person’s assets to heirs.

Per Illinois law, the executor must be at least 18 years old and a United States resident. He or she cannot be of unsound mind or have certain disabilities. Individuals convicted of felony criminal offenses are also unable to act as executors.

How to Know If Your Child is Ready to Be Executor of Your Estate

Being the executor of a deceased person’s estate is a major obligation. If you are unsure of whether your children are ready to be assigned this particular task, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does your child know how to handle financial and legal issues?
  • Has your child demonstrated financial responsibility in his or her own life?
  • How does your child cope with conflict and disagreements?
  • Do your child’s work schedule and family responsibilities allow him or her time to handle executor duties?
  • Does your child have any disabilities, addictions, or personal problems that could impede his or her ability to manage your estate?

If you have more than one child, you may be torn as to which child should be executor. Some people choose to name one of their children as the executor while others decide to name multiple children as co-executors. IF you decide to name more than one executor, you will need to make sure they can cooperate and make decisions unanimously.

Contact a Naperville Estate Planning Lawyer

The skilled DuPage County estate planning attorneys at the Gierach Law Firm are here to help you with all of your estate planning questions and concerns. We provide legal guidance regarding wills, trusts, living wills, powers of attorney, and more. Call us today for a consultation at 630-756-1160.


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Please note: These blogs have been created over a period of time and laws and information can change. For the most current information on a topic you are interested in please seek proper legal counsel.

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