On behalf of John Dorris of Dorris Law Group posted in Estate Planning on Friday, September 25, 2015.

Arizona residents who are preparing a will or who have been appointed executor for the will of another individual may wonder what is involved in being an executor. They may not realize that an executor might need to account for property that is not in the will. One responsibility of an executor is paying estate taxes, and the executor may need to collect from beneficiaries of life insurance policies and other assets that do not pass through probate.

People should also keep in mind that the executor can get help if needed. Executors may hire tax professionals, lawyers and other advisers. They are not expected to be experts in these areas, but they are expected to make reasonable decisions and to know when it is time to consult experts. People who are preparing their wills may want to keep this in mind when they are choosing an executor.

An executor may also have the difficult task of dealing with family members who are under stress and unhappy with the terms of the will or have other conflicts. The situation can become even more difficult if the executor is affected by the terms, but it is important to stay neutral and not be influenced by that.

An attorney may be able to assist a client in many aspects of an estate plan including choosing an executor. The attorney might be able to help the client assess the fitness of various candidates for the role and explain what may be expected of them. For example, the client may want to avoid appointing a family member who is conflict-averse or one who is disorganized. A person without a strong financial background but who is good at managing paperwork and dealing with strong emotions might be better suited for the role.