Careful thought went into creating your estate plan from deciding upon guardians, choosing beneficiaries who will receive your assets along with the executor who will help settle your estate. And you understand that every time a major life event or change takes place, it is time to update your will.
Among the details to consider includes changing your executor. Perhaps this person was the right choice a decade ago. Someone who was trustworthy, willing, capable and skilled with finances and relationships. However, matters, situations and relationships often change. When any of these differences come to the forefront, it is time to take a serious look at replacing your executor.
A divorce, fails in fiduciary duty
Here are a few of the important reasons to replace your executor:
- Someone who fails in his or her fiduciary duty: Your executor must put the interest of the estate of above everything else. Someone looking out for himself or herself may cheat the estate and should not be in this role. You do not want an unscrupulous person settling the estate.
- Your original choice is no longer able to perform executor duties: In these situations, perhaps this person now suffers from dementia, a physical disability or mental illness, preventing him or her of fulfilling these duties.
- Your original executor is your spouse, but you have divorced: At the time, you and your spouse trusted each other, but maybe not so much anymore after a divorce. It is not a prudent idea to have an ex-spouse as your executor.
- Your executor lets you know that he or she no longer wants these duties: It takes time, availability and energy to perform these, sometimes, thankless duties. Perhaps this person no longer has the energy or time to give this role the attention it needs.
- Your relationship with the executor has changed dramatically: Perhaps the two of you had a major falling out over years, and you no longer are comfortable having this person in this role. When relationships and values change, it is time to find a different executor.
- The person shirks many of his or her responsibilities: Safeguarding assets and locating heirs are other crucial responsibilities of an executor. If this person allows others to walk away with valuable items or procrastinates in searching for heirs, give him or her the boot.
Please make sure to periodically review your will. If changes must be made, make those changes. And one of those changes could lead to the replacement of your original executor.