When a loved one or family member asks a Pennsylvania resident to become the executor of their estate, it is natural to feel honored at the request. If the testator is near death, then there is an even more pressing need to agree and ease their stress. However, it’s important to know that being an executor is a difficult role and one should know what they are getting into before agreeing.

The first and foremost concern is whether the potential executor has time. The executor must sort through years of a testator’s life, and this often requires lengthy and repeated phone calls, trips to the county courthouse and standing in long lines to send registered letters. Collecting information from financial institutions is also tedious, especially when someone is grieving for the loss of a loved one. Not only does one have to think about the time completing these tasks requires, but also the skill. An executor must be highly organized, so if they have financial difficulties of their own, it might not be the best idea to appoint them. An executor must also be aware of the rules regulating their responsibilities, along with the timeline for completing these tasks.

One way to ease the path for an executor is to put financial affairs in order as soon as possible. The testator should make a list of all their financial information, including the location of safe-deposit boxes and real estate. A will that clearly outlines one’s wishes is also a big step towards helping the executor determine how to divide the estate and personal belongings. It’s also important to talk openly about why someone has been chosen as an executor, while another family member overlooked. This can avoid disputes in the future.

Estate administration can be complicated, even when someone has taken the necessary steps to provide for their family member’s future. One way to ensure the executor has all the information needed to distribute one’s estate and complete related functions is by consulting an experienced attorney.