Can A Lawyer Be Your Executor in Your Estate Plan?
Determining how assets will be distributed to heirs is just one aspect of building a comprehensive estate plan. You must also decide who will serve as the executor of your estate. The executor has the crucial duty of carrying out your last wishes. The list of executor responsibilities is long – especially for individuals with high-value or complex estates. The executor of an estate files the decedent’s will with the county court, notifies beneficiaries and heirs, pays creditors, and distributes assets to the correct parties.
Who you choose as your executor is completely up to you. Some people choose a family member or close friend to serve as executor. Another option is to choose an attorney or lawyer to serve the executor function.
Executor Requirements and Duties in Illinois
Choosing an executor is one of the most important parts of the estate planning process. Illinois law states that executors must be at least 18 years old and a current United States resident. Executors must be of sound mind and able to fulfill the responsibilities expected of an estate executor. Illinois probate courts may reject executors with severe substance abuse problems or mental disabilities. It is also helpful when an executor lives in the same geographical area as the testator.
Being an executor can be complicated and confusing under the best of circumstances. Carrying out executor functions while grieving the death of a loved one can be especially burdensome. For this and other reasons, some people decide to appoint their attorney as the executor of their will. There are many advantages to this option – especially if the estate is complex. Unlike a family member or close friend, an attorney will be less emotionally involved in the process. He or she can remain neutral and focus entirely on carrying out executor duties.
Lawyers also have legal knowledge and access to resources that the average person does not. Estate planning lawyers handle complex estate planning issues all the time, so they are in a better position to settle accounts, transfer ownership of assets, and tie up other loose ends.
If you do not have children or your children are still young, your estate is complex, or you have accumulated significant wealth, choosing an attorney to act as executor may be right for you.
Contact a Naperville Estate Planning Lawyer
At the Gierach Law Firm, we know that there are no one-size-fits-all solutions in estate planning. Each person’s needs are unique. Our Naperville estate planning attorneys provide customized legal advice and assistance regarding wills, trusts, incapacity planning, and much more. Call our office at 630-756-1160 for a confidential consultation.
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.