last will and testament attorney

What Does an Executor do and Who Should I pick as Executor

One of the first things to consider when you write a Will is who should be the executor.  But first, what does an executor do? The role of an executor is to administer your estate after you die.  It is likely that the first thing your executor would do is probate your Will. Probating the Will occurs in the county that the decedent resided.  Herr Potts and Potts helps clients who are executors gather the information needed to probate the Will by petitioning the Register of Wills in the county the decedent lived in.  

The many jobs of the executor can include facilitating the funeral or burial, selling real estate, using estate assets to pay the decedent’s bills and taxes, selling tangible assets, gathering the decedent’s assets, and filing local and Federal tax returns.  Along the way in administering the estate, having experienced legal representation will will be valuable for the many questions and issues the executor will face. Ultimately, when all the debts are paid and an approval letter is received from Pennsylvania, the executor is then able to distribute the assets according to how the Will describes.  Herr Potts and Potts will recommend that the executor draft an Accounting and have the beneficiaries release the executor from any liability by signing an Agreement. Our firm wants to ensure that the executor is protected and that no issues will arise in the future.

Most times spouses will name each other as executors of the other’s Will.  Family members, such as children or siblings, are usually named the backup executors under the Will.  You can name as many backups as you want. One thing to consider is naming someone who can competently handle financial matters and stay on task as executor the whole way through.  You don’t have to name an executor who is local (although it may help) since an executor who lives in another state can handle matters. Another thing to consider are the ages of those who you name as executor, as it sometimes makes sense to name a generation below you to ensure that there wouldn’t be a vacancy.  You can also name co-executors under the Will, but make sure that they can get along and work together to administer the estate. There are also times that it would make sense to name lawyers, banks, or trust companies as executors if there are no family or friends that could be trusted with the task; or the value of the estate is so great that it makes sense to name a professional executor.

It is important to know that the Chester County Register of Wills is located in West Chester, PA at the Justice Center.  The Montgomery County Register of Wills is located in Norristown, PA across the street from the Courthouse. And the Delaware County Register of Wills is located in the Courthouse in Media, PA.

If you are named the executor under a Will and would want help in your situation or if you are currently facing issues as an executor, please reach out to us! At Herr Potts and Potts, located in Wayne and West Chester, our attorneys are prepared to help you administer the estate properly and legally as executor. To schedule a confidential consultation, contact us at (610) 254-0114.