The most important role someone can play in your New York estate plan is executor. This person is responsible for overseeing your entire estate, helping it move through the probate process, and distributing your assets to your heirs. Typically, you’ll ask someone you trust to be your executor. While it is possible to choose a spouse, adult child, or family friend as your executor, it can be difficult to predict their lifespan compared to your own.
What to do after your appointed executor dies
There will – understandably – be a lot of emotions to process during this loss. As soon as you can, you should amend your estate plan. You may name someone else close to you to serve as an executor, like another relative or family friend. You can also consider hiring an estate administration professional to help serve as an executor, but this will normally cost a certain percentage of the estate.
What if I do not have an executor?
If you pass before you can update your will, the court will appoint someone to act as executor. Typically, this will just be your next of kin. Ideally, you want to appoint your executor and ensure they know all of the responsibilities of the role. Someone who the court nominates may not be prepared and feel extremely overwhelmed.
Estate planning can be a complicated process in New York. Regardless of how long your estate plan has been set up, it can still be derailed by an unexpected event. That’s why it’s important to update regularly – or at least review – your estate plan. This allows you to change beneficiaries, edit instructions, and update your executor.