Choosing an estate executor?

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by HollowHead, Aug 12, 2018.

  1. HollowHead

    HollowHead Firm member

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    Maybe just a touch of maudlin rambling, but how do we handle designating an executor? We have no heirs / descendants or primary NOK and gave the idea hardly a thought until our attorney suggested we do so. His advice was that since we do everything together (vacation, motorcycle trips, vacations to third world ***holes, etc.,) it might not be a bad idea to ask someone close in geographic proximity to be designated in case we both buy it at the same time. Ideas? Thanks, HH
     
  2. larry_minn

    larry_minn Silver Member Millennium Member

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    Who do you trust? Do you have a trust? Would you rather what you have gives to people, places you chose? Or would you rather the government decide?
    Take snapshot today. What do you own, is there anyone you would want to have anything?
    IS there any institution that you would like to support? I.E. Church, school, camp, Internet site ;)

    It was suggested go % as you will not know your worth on that day. A good executor makes sure debts paid off, funeral done, remaining assets go to where you wanted. (Or in his pocket)
     
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  3. jilverthor

    jilverthor

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    What are your plans for the estate and order of magnitude? Given what I have heard so far I would name either the lawyer or someone affiliated with the major beneficiaries of the estate (e.g. charity) the executor.
     
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  4. PhotoFeller

    PhotoFeller A swamp dude

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    The executor really should be someone you know and trust.

    Prepare an outline of your wishes regarding distribution of assets and disposal of your remains. Establish a compensation arrangement for the effort required to execute your plan; the executor's responsibilities will likely require a fair amount of time and effort.

    Have your lawyer memorialize your wishes and the executor's role, including the compensation arrangement, in a formal document to be kept by the attorney. I suppose this document would be considered a 'will'. There are other details to be worked out, such as establishing authorization to write checks for the estate, but the attorney can lead you through those fundamental arrangements.

    This will be a worthwhile effort.
     
  5. pugman

    pugman

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    Everyone hit on it. Technically it can be anyone. This said depending on the size and complexity of the will might add some content. I'm all for an attorney but letting them eat up thousands in fees to execute a will IMO is a waste. Trust is one thing but how well they know you is as important to me anyways.

    Our will is very specific when it comes to certain things like my grandfathers watch, guns, etc.
     
  6. benben

    benben

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    My situation is different than what you’re asking about, I’m the executor of my dad’s estate. I’m the youngest of two kids, my sister is three years older.

    I honestly believe my dad chose me because I haven’t borrowed a single nickel since I moved out in 1985, and I know, because my dad told me.......he’s given my sister $50,000 over the last five years. Pretty sure that’s what he based his decision on!

    Hopefully the estate will be closed tomorrow, my dad passed away in May 2017. With multiple properties, 15 vehicles, and 7 or 8 investments I had no idea about, it’s been a ton of work!

    I hired an estate lawyer, ended up costing $2000.00, best money I’ve spent during this process! He was awesome, can’t recommend hiring a lawyer enough for an estate, especially one with a lot of stuff (money) involved.
     
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  7. Big Bird

    Big Bird NRA Life Member

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    In most cases an executor is going to hire an attorney anyhow. So legal fees will exist regardless. Few people understand the process of probate and legal ramifications of their decisions as executor of an estate well enough to do it themselves--assuming the decedent has any assets!
     
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  8. MAG40 Student

    MAG40 Student Silver Member

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    HH,

    Do you have trusted friends you might designate?

    Mrs. MAG40 and I updated wills, trusts, Durable Powers of Attorney a year ago. Like you, no children. We wanted someone who was both financially and medically sophisticated, but also shared our same values (i.e., able to make the medical decisions as we would make them). For that reason, we selected long-time friends who, conveniently, have backgrounds in finance, see the same physician we do, and have the highest personal integrity.

    We are fortunate to have such friends.

    We chose them over family members because mine are spread out across the country and Mrs. MAG40's siblings, while all lovely people, would find it too hard to make the tough medical decisions. (We saw this first-hand when the family had to deal with their parents' final illnesses.) Tellingly, there are personal effects that remain undistributed, five years after their final parent's death, because no one wants to hurt their siblings' feelings by taking anything someone else might want.

    Of course, it becomes exponentially more complicated for those with minor children. It is among the hardest decisions most couples must make: Who should raise your children?

    I have had clients say, Family Member/Friend "A" would be the best parent, but is a spendthrift. Or, Family Member/Friend "B" is financially sophisticated but sub-optimal parent material. In that instance, they can designate "A" to be the Guardian and "B" to be the executor/trustee.

    Solutions to most situations exist, but it requires honesty, patience, and mutual respect to find them.

    Failing that, if he or she isn't considerably older, you might consider designating your attorney.

    Best to you and Mrs. HH.
     
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  9. shadow_dog

    shadow_dog Hilljack

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    Again, everyone has hit on about all the bases. Just make your choice carefully.
     
  10. Gonzoso

    Gonzoso

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    Don’t forget someone to delete and dispose of anything you don’t want the executor to find.

    The executor thing is tough. We just sold the house from lady gonzosos mom and step dad 3 months ago. She passed 3/16 and he passed 10/16.

    Extended family descended like wolves and I learned a lot. I never learned who stole all the viagra though.

    I think the best thing to do is hire a trusted estate lawyer and have someone you trust sign papers.

    Also downsize and sell off or give away things you’re not using like guns, bikes, tools so they go to a good place or you get a good value. I’ve seen people bring in 20k in guns and the gun store gives them $200 and they’re stoked. Or worse yet motorcycles left to rot or crashed and abused by idiots.

    Not a bad idea to have a list of passwords or combinations in a safe deposit box or something. We ended up with useless iPhones and I had to drill out a heavy duty floor safe.
     
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  11. bogeyman

    bogeyman

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    You might also consider a bank trust department as your executor, especially if you have substantial or complex assets. A bank can never pre-decease you, as can an individual. They are subject to both internal and external audit, and if they mess up something there is recourse, as they have the assets to reimburse the estate. Yes, they will charge a fee, but you get what you pay for.
     
  12. G29guy06

    G29guy06

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    In your case (which was mine when I was younger) I had an atty I know be the executor...
     
  13. BradD

    BradD

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    Based on my limited experience, whoever they are, they should get a pretty large fee.

    My FIL passed away in January and his executor about wrecked her life trying to do that job. I am sure she lost a five-digit amount of money. She got about $10k more than other heirs. For what she had to do, she should've received multiples of that. He had sold nothing and had a huge mess to clean up.

    When one of my pal's inlaws passed, he said taking care of all of their business ate almost six months of their life. I don't know the details of their story.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2018
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  14. 2bgop

    2bgop

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    I did it for my grandmother's estate, it was pretty simple actually. Sold all the real estate and all other personal property that couldn't easily be slip up, this was mostly farm equipment and other vehicles. Took the proceeds for all the sales, paid the final round of bills and then cut all the heirs their portion.

    I am guessing I had around 10-12k total in legal, accounting, and sales commissions.
     
  15. BamaBud

    BamaBud NRA Life Member

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    Death brings out the worst in possible heirs. That doesn't seem to be your problem thankfully.
    I was the sole trustee and executor for my family trusts set up by my parents. Took several years to finalize, but avoided probate via trusts. I settled everything personally, and provided my siblings a detailed accounting of what I did, along with their distributions.

    Then my in-laws wanted me to do the same. They have substantial assets too, but wanted no trusts and to have their bank handle the probate. Luckily, their personal banker has worked well with me, but they are taking 2.5% of total estate value as fees. Are they worth thst? No, but no alternative due to in-laws prior decisions.

    The hardest part is tax preparation. This is nearly full time for two years. I'd gladly pay 2.5% for this to be handled, but their accountant is charging hourly rates, Much less than the 2.5%. Thankful for his work.
    Remember, the executor has fiduciary responsibilities so they should be compensated. Depending on the size of your estate, this risk could be compensated with as high a percentage as you wish. The executor also has to pay all funeral expenses, so they need funds to be abe to do this.
    I'd choose a young person that I'd offer a substantial percentage of the estate for their work. Maybe give them a retainer now and their cut later. This may be an attorney because they will need to know about ALL your assets.
    You need to open up with them about everything now. You won't have a chance to later.
    Good luck.
     
  16. Slackinoff

    Slackinoff Bathed in lavender and gasoline

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    Whoever you choose, just remember it's a big, time consuming process. Set enough aside for them to hire an attorney and accountant if needed.
     
  17. PhotoFeller

    PhotoFeller A swamp dude

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    I'm considering paying our executor a generous rate/hour for what will be a significant ongoing involvement dealing with trust issues over 10 or more years. The executor will work with a bank trustee and our financial advisor to consider all manner of questions/issues related to educational trust payments made for grandkids, etc. Compensation based on actual time spent taking care of estate business seems most reasonable to me.
     
  18. Tvov

    Tvov

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    Whoever you have as an executor, have a non-family member provide outside help. That is where usually a lawyer comes in. That way many of the possibly painful decisions about what to do with "things" can be decided by a non-family member, can make things easier.

    My lawyers' advice about my Mother-in-Law's house was simple: sell it, and split the money evenly. Family, real estate, and money rarely works well together, better to just to sell, divide up everything, and call it even. You're still going to have arguments, though. As others say, it can be, unfortunately, vicious and sad.

    "My" lawyer has done a great job for me. Local, small town, no big office staff. Charges very reasonable rates.

    I was the executor of my Mom's estate. It was actually very easy, as she was in assisted living and just had a bank account with minimal bills. I helped my wife and brother-in-law when my Mother-in-law passed away - that was more difficult and time consuming, as there was a house to sell (as per my lawyer's advice, which turned out to be very good).

    As you maybe can tell from my post, I have a local small town lawyer who, so far at least, has been wonderful.

    One distantly related thing... don't say you don't want a funeral or anything like that. The people that are "left behind" DO want to do something to remember you, and there are most likely more than you realize. Even if it is a simple wake at the local funeral home with some people saying a few words, with maybe minister or priest to lead a prayer. It doesn't have to be fancy, but it does help people who are still here.

    My wife's aunt passed away from cancer. When alive, aunt insisted she didn't want a service. It was sad and upsetting when she passed away and there was..... nothing.

    When my wife's wonderful grandmother passed away, she also said she didn't want a service. It was... I don't know, kind of terrible that no one got together to remember Gram.

    I don't know what it is these days with funerals... if they even have one, people show up in shorts and T-shirts. People, at least where a clean T-shirt with as few rips and holes as possible.


    :fred:
     
  19. G33

    G33 Frisky! CLM Millennium Member

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    Set everything in a Trust.
    Bank and/or estate lawyer.
    Everything is designated to a recipient(s).
    :)
     
  20. flyover

    flyover

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    Dad named me as the executor for his estate. Had I known then what I know now, I might have refused. No trust just a will. It has not been to bad but a lot of stress at times like when I should be out working ground but am stuck inside dealing with paperwork and such for the estate.
    I will say this much. It has been one heck of a learning experience. I was an authorized signer on Dad's checking account, it should have been set up as a joint account as I had no authority to pay bills after Dad passed until the estate got set up.
     
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