If you are creating an estate plan in Florida that includes a will, you will need to name an executor. An executor has a number of responsibilities, including collecting and safeguarding your assets, paying taxes and distributing assets to beneficiaries.

Appointing co-executors

You should try to appoint an executor who is likely to outlive you. If you are naming a spouse or someone else close to your age, you might want to consider appointing a co-executor. This could be another family member, such as an adult child, or it might be a professional, such as an attorney. You may want to periodically review your will to determine if you need to change the executor.

When an executor cannot serve

In some cases, an executor might be unwilling to fulfill their duties. A person cannot serve as executor following a felony conviction or if the court believes there is a conflict of interest. A court must issue a document called “letters testamentary” before anyone can take further action as an executor.

A court-appointed executor

If an executor has died, cannot serve or dies during the probate process and there is not a co-executor or a successor executor, the court may appoint one. It is usually the responsibility of the deceased executor’s attorney to prepare and turn over the estate to the new executor.

The person chosen as executor is not required to have legal or financial expertise, but they should be trustworthy and reasonably organized. The executor may also need to be someone who can manage family conflict. If your estate includes one or more trusts, depending on their complexity, it might be necessary to have a professional as trustee or co-trustee. You may also need to appoint people to take over financial and medical decision-making for you if you become incapacitated.