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Dad is leaving everything to me and my 3 siblings equally, but should there be an official executor of his Will??

Charlotte, NC |

Certain events in the family have some family members thinking that an executor is necessary so greediness does not come in to play upon the death of our parents. Is this necessary?

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

When a person makes a Will, he or she names an executor (male), executrix (female) or personal representative to take charge of the estate. If there is an issue of greediness, your father may wish to name an independent person rather than a family member to take control of his estate. An independent person would not be a beneficiary or the husband or wife of a beneficiary. An independent person should be someone who will not be influenced by a beneficiary. Banks, accountants and attorneys often are nominated as executors. Your parents should contact an attorney and express their concerns

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Posted

As a general rule, if someone has a named beneficiary on an asset, that asset would pass directly to the person named as the beneficiary. A Will does not need to be probated for that purpose. Having said that, naming beneficiaries on assets as a planning strategy is a risky way to plan an estate. What happens if one of those beneficiaries dies? That asset now becomes an asset that needs to be probated so that it can legally pass to someone. This is where the Will is required that names beneficiaries. The Will also names an Executor who can then be appointed by the Clerk of Court in the County where the decedent died to have legal authority over that asset. Without a Will then it would pass based on North Carolina Statutes...and that is not always the plan that decedent would have wanted. I would suggest speaking with an experienced Estate Planning attorney to discuss Dad's estate to make certain his wishes are followed.

The information is made available by Sabrina Winters, Attorney at Law, (publisher) for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. There is no attorney client relationship between you and Sabrina Winters, Attorney at Law. The information provided should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney retained in your state.

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I agree with my colleagues. If you are going to have a probate estate, then having an executor is necessary. It also helps in cases where there are family members that are difficult to deal with. This is one of the factors that would affect the determination of what planning tools to use, because if you are seeing potential issues now, they seldom go away or improve, once there is a family crisis.

It also points to the need for even more estate planning. In addition to a possible Will or Trust, your parents absolutely need durable power of attorney forms for medical and financial matters. This will put a trustworthy person in charge, in the event that your parents ever become incapacitated. It can also prevent a greedy sibling from trying to get a head start on their inheritance at the expense of a parent.

All of these forms are best prepared by an attorney who can interview your parents extensively and help them determine which planning options will work best for your family.

James Frederick

***Please be sure to mark if you find the answer "helpful" or a "best" answer. Thank you! I hope this helps. ***************************************** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state. I hope you our answer helpful!

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