Guidelines for Choosing an Executor for Your Estate

When making a decision on who should serve as the executor of your estate, you should take into consideration each of the following:

Family vs. Nonfamily – The executor of an estate is responsible for all administrative duties associated with the estate until it is legally closed.  The executor’s duties begin when a will is admitted to probate, and continues through the payment of any bills or taxes, disbursement of estate assets to beneficiaries and overseeing any potential challenges to a will.  The more complicated the estate, the more complicated the executor’s job.

Many people nominate a family member, but you should settle on a person who is organized, responsible and trustworthy – that person may or may not be a member of your family.  And if you don’t have a close family member who could handle the executor’s responsibilities, you may wish to name an attorney, accountant or corporate fiduciary as your executor.

Cost of an Executor – Florida statues allow “reasonable compensation” for executors as follows:

  • 3% for the first $1 million of estate value;
  • 2.5% for estate values of $1 million to $5 million;
  • 2% for estate values of $5 million to $10 million; and
  • 1.5% for estate values over $10 million.

Family members frequently waive executor fees but they get reimbursed for any out-of-pocket expenses like travel expenses.

Whomever you choose as your executor, be sure they understand what the job entails and they agree to serve in that capacity for you before you finalize your will.  Be sure you name one or more alternates, and keep up with your primary executor – if they die before you do and you have not named an alternate, the court will make the decision for you.

The Estate, Trust & Elder Law Firm, P.L., provides attorney services ranging from estate planning for young families to probate and advanced and crisis long-term care for seniors.  Contact us for your initial consultation at one of our conveniently located offices in Fort Pierce, Stuart, Port St. Lucie, Vero Beach, and Okeechobee.