People often misunderstand the role of estate executor in the estate planning process.
When you express your wishes about the transfer of your property in your last will, nobody will get an inheritance until your estate goes through probate. During probate, a court supervises the administration of the estate.
Probate can be a complicated and costly process. The extent of the business conducted during probate varies case-by-case. The executor is charged with the responsibility of conducting this business on behalf of the estate.
Given probate’s complexity, you don’t want to choose an executor based on sentimentality alone. An executor has no ceremonial or honorary position; acting as a fiduciary is a serious responsibility.
Because probate is in fact a legal process, the executor will often bring in a probate lawyer. The executor may also require the assistance of an accountant to handle final taxes. Appraisals are sometimes necessary, and liquidation of hard assets may also be a factor.
If someone was to challenge the will it would be up to the executor to represent the interests of the estate.
As you can see, the executor of the estate has some very significant responsibilities. If you don’t know anyone who has the qualities that it takes to be a good executor, you could engage the services of a professional fiduciary such as a trust company or a bank.