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Florida testators weigh the qualities of an executor

Oct 30, 2017 | Probate & Estate Administration

In some families, it may be widely accepted that the firstborn child or perhaps the eldest son will handle the estate after the parents pass away. Without much thought, someone may choose an executor based on birth order, but naming an executor is not always that easy. Florida residents who are beginning or revising their estate plans will certainly benefit from making a careful evaluation of those in line for the honor and burden of being their estate executors.

Probate courts often require executors to be bonded to protect the heirs from the loss of assets should the executor commit any wrongdoing. Those with poor credit scores or bankruptcies in their histories may not be able to obtain that bonding and so may not be the best choice for executor. Furthermore, while wisdom comes with age, choosing an executor who is one’s age or older risks that the testator will outlive the executor. Some simply make a general designation of executor, for example to any of their children who are older than 30 at the time the testator dies.

Of course, no one wants to imagine an estate left behind to the pandemonium that accompanies sibling rivalry. The relationships one’s children have with one another must be carefully considered if a testator is planning to name a child as executor. Any existing resentment may build into all-out war as the siblings fight for control of the estate.

An estate executor should have certain qualities, but responsibility may encompass many of those characteristics. Taking care of the intricate elements of an estate plan requires organization and dedication to the task as if it were one’s job. The children may not always be the most responsible candidates, and some in Florida look outside the family for someone with experience handling issues that may arise during probate. For many, the best choice is naming an attorney as the executor of their estates.

Source:, “7 Tips for Choosing the Right Executor“, Daniel A. Timins, Accessed on Oct. 28, 2017