Choosing an Executor and Successor Trustee for Your Estate

Choosing an Executor and Successor Trustee for Your Estate

The Role of Executor of Your Estate

The person you name in your will as the executor of your estate is responsible for managing your estate in the event there are probate proceedings. This involves a court process and working under court supervision to gather and identify assets, debts, and liabilities. Your executor will notify creditors how to make claims against your estate and, if necessary, will handle liquidating assets to pay those debts. The executor must report everything they do to the probate judge and seek court approval for some steps of the probate process, like selling property. 

Unlike some states, the person you name is not required to be a Nevada resident. The person must simply be at least 18 years old, and of sound mind. A convicted felon cannot serve unless a court determines that the conviction would not disqualify the person from serving. You may name a corporate executor, such as a bank, so long as the entity is authorized to conduct business in Nevada.

The Role of Successor Trustee of Your Trust

If you have a revocable living trust, you are the trustee of the trust during your lifetime, with the power to manage assets, change beneficiaries, and even revoke the trust entirely. The successor trustee will step in and run things in the event of your incapacity and will distribute assets of the trust according to the terms of the trust upon your death. In most cases, the successor trustee can perform the job without court intervention. 

In contrast to naming an executor, you can name anyone you wish as a successor trustee regardless of where they live or their criminal background. You can also name a corporate successor trustee or co-trustee if you wish to have professional management of your trust.

Who Should You Name?

A trustworthy family member who has good judgment is detail-oriented, and who will be able to relate to your unique family dynamics would be a good choice for your executor and successor trustee. The person you name does not have to be a financial expert but should be competent to handle basic business matters or find good advisors to help when matters arise. In most instances, people choose their spouse or an adult child as both executor and successor trustee. Sometimes, however, it makes more sense to name a different family member or even a respected friend for these roles. It is not mandatory that your executor and successor trustee be the same person; there are pros and cons to each choice.

At Kling Law Offices, we can help guide you in identifying the person(s) who would best serve as executor of your estate and/or successor trustee of your trust. We recognize that these are important decisions that, once made, can give you peace of mind your affairs will be handled competently and according to your wishes and desires. Please contact our office today for a free consultation to discuss your estate planning needs and options.