Executor Responsibilities

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Organization and planning can greatly reduce the time and costs involved in settling your estate after you die. One of the first steps you should take is to choose an executor, referred to in some states as personal representative.

Choosing the right executor can help to achieve an easier transition for your loved ones, alleviate a great deal of their stress and anxiety, and allow them to grieve your loss better. Choose the wrong executor and it can cause more damage than just hurt feelings.

Choosing The Right Colorado Executor

The executor you name is one of the most important choices you have to make when writing your last will & testament. This is because the person you name, will have a great deal of responsibility.

After your death, your executor must take inventory of all of your possessions and determine the total value of your estate. He or she must also prepare your final income tax return, pay your taxes, settle your debts, and then distribute the remaining assets to your beneficiaries.

Your Colorado executor can be your spouse, domestic partner, sibling, adult child, or friend. They technically do not need to have any special training, however, the person you name as your executor should have enough basic knowledge to navigate the legal, tax, and financial implications of your estate.

Keep in mind that you can also name a professional as your executor. Financial institutions, accounting firms, notaries and lawyers often provide this type of service.

Legal Requirements For a Colorado Executor

Colorado law requires the person you choose as your executor to be:

  1. 21 years of age or older;
  2. In good mental health; and
  3. Not legally incapacitated

Unlike many states, Colorado does not prohibit those who have been convicted of a felony from acting as your executor.

Nor does the state prohibit individuals who reside outside the state from acting as an executor.

However, a Colorado probate court may disqualify any potential executor found to be unsuitable after a formal proceeding.

The Responsibilities of an Colorado Executor/Personal Representative

How can you ensure that you are making the best decision? You can start by first considering the legal and fiduciary nature of the position.

In general, an executor is a fiduciary meaning that they must act in the best of your estate and its beneficiaries. As a fiduciary, your executor's duties will include:

  • Gathering the assets of the estate
  • Filing tax returns
  • Paying the estate's taxes and other debts
  • Settling business interests
  • Filing with the probate court if necessary
  • Distributing your assets to the intended beneficiaries

Be aware that your executor will also be required to sign court filings and other important documents throughout the probate process, which can last from a couple of months to a couple of years.

Therefore, you should consider choosing someone who is:

  • Responsible;
  • Trustworthy;
  • Comfortable working with professionals, such as lawyers and accountants; and
  • Not a procrastinator

Other Considerations

Here are some other considerations to keep in mind when deciding upon an executor for your estate:

  • The person you choose should be someone you can trust to be honest and impartial. Your executor may have to mediate conflicts and must never give priority to his or her own interests.
  • Location might make a big difference as well. An executor who lives too far away may encounter difficulties in performing the various duties that will be required of them.
  • Be aware that the person you choose as your executor may decline this responsibility. Therefore, you might want to consider naming a second person to take on this responsibility in the event your first choice declines or is otherwise unable to act as your executor.
  • Finally, keep in mind that a regular review of your will is recommended to ensure that your choice of executor keeps up with changes in your estate and/or relationships.

For Help With Choosing an Colorado Executor For Your Estate

An experienced Colorado estate planning attorney can offer you valuable guidance when writing your will, selecting an executor, and reviewing your will to ensure that your choice of executor is still the right. Call us today to arrange a free, no obligation consultation.

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