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Choosing an Estate Executor in Illinois

 Posted on May 21, 2012 in Estate Planning

One of the critical steps in estate planning is choosing an executor for your estate. In addition to choosing a qualified and experienced Illinois estate planning attorney, selecting an appropriate estate executor is an important part of estate planning to ensure that your wishes are carried out following your death.

An Illinois Executor's Responsibilities

Before choosing an executor for your will, it's important to understand what the executor's responsibilities are in Illinois. The specifics can vary depending on the size and nature of your estate, but in general, estate executor's are responsible for the following:

  • Filing the appropriate paperwork with the county following your death
  • Notifying your creditors of your death
  • Paying bills (utilities, mortgage) until the estate is settled
  • Paying and collecting on any outstanding debts
  • Paying the appropriate estate taxes
  • Hiring an estate & probate lawyer to assist with the execution of your estate
  • Distributing your assets according to your wishes

Factors to Consider When Choosing an Executor

Again, it varies, but it's not uncommon for it to take up to two years for the entire estate execution process. Although an estate executor is able to pay themselves (within certain legal limits) for their services, it's not a profitable position, and many family members waive this fee. Because executing an estate is such an important responsibility, you should consider several factors when evaluating the candidates, including their:

  • other obligations (work, school, volunteer positions, family)
  • organizational skills
  • willingness to perform as executor
  • physical location

While many people choose a family member or close friend as the executor of their estate, some find that they have no one who is an appropriate candidate. In these cases, talk to a knowledgeable estate planning attorney about other options. It may be possible to choose a professional, such as an estates & probate lawyer or accountant, to execute your estate, and sometimes, a bank or trust can act as executor. An experienced DuPage County estate planning lawyer will be able to discuss all of the options to help you choose the best executor for your estate.

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