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What if no one wants to be the executor of an estate?

Being an estate executor is a tough but necessary job. But when no one is willing to take on the role, there are a couple of alternatives available.

Posted on September 8, 2022 by Sara Hillier
What if no one wants to be the executor

Being an estate executor of a loved one’s estate is one of the most challenging tasks you may face in your life. It’s not just the fact that you’ll be dealing with mountains of paperwork, legal red tape, and potentially complex financial matters: You’ll be doing all of this in the midst of grieving the recent loss of a loved one, which can really put a strain on your emotional and physical wellbeing.

According to our independent study:

- 74% of Americans who have acted as an executor indicate that experiencing the death of a parent, spouse and/or partner was one of the most difficult challenges of their life

- 63% felt being an executor disrupted their personal and/or professional life.

- 53% admitted that settling the estate of a parent, spouse, and/or partner was one of the most difficult challenges of their life.

What happens if no one wants to be the executor?

First off, if you’ve been named executor, you must first decline the role if you feel that you’ll be unable to carry out the responsibilities. In order to do that, you simply have to send an official declination form to the corresponding probate court where probate will be carried out, officially declaring that you’re renouncing the position of executor, including all authority and responsibilities that accompany the role.

In most cases, you’ll be able to find the renunciation form online, on the website of the probate court in the county, state, or province where the estate is being probated.

What happens next depends a bit on the rules and regulations of the jurisdiction where the estate is to be probated. If the will names an alternate executor, then that person may take on the role if they desire. If no alternate is named, then whoever is next of kin after you may petition the court to act as executor.

However, if no one wishes to act as executor, including close friends and distant relatives, then the court may nominate a creditor to the estate as a potential executor. But if there are no creditors, creditors don’t wish to fulfill the role, or you and the estate’s beneficiaries don’t agree with the nomination, then you have a couple of other options at your disposal.

Can an attorney be the executor of a will?

An attorney can certainly be the executor of your loved one’s estate. The most common scenario here is that your loved one used an estate attorney to plan their estate, and that attorney is then nominated to serve as their executor if no one else is keen on the role.

It is important that the attorney in question is an estate attorney who’s familiar with probate and estate law so that you can rest easy knowing that a professional who knows what they’re doing is in charge. Having your attorney who specializes in labor law take on the role of your loved one’s executor is certainly not a recommended course of action.

What to do if you can't find an executor

If no one steps up for the role, including any potential creditors, then paid professionals can take on the responsibilities of an executor. Oftentimes this is an appealing solution for families who live far away from where the estate is being probated, or who are dealing with a lot of personal and professional pressure and cannot take on the role.

A paid professional usually has the expertise to get through probate quickly and efficiently and will save you and your loved ones a good deal of stress and sleepless nights in the process. These are your options for paid professionals to take over the role of an executor:

Licensed fiduciary

A licensed fiduciary refers to a legal or financial professional who is contractually obligated to act in their client’s best interest. When an executor cannot be found, it’s not uncommon for a deceased’s loved one and/or the probate court to nominate a licensed fiduciary to act as executor.

A licensed fiduciary has a so-called “fiduciary duty,” which refers to the fact that this individual has a legal duty to act in the deceased’s best interest. A fiduciary can also take on a wide variety of responsibilities that go beyond that of an estate executor: They can manage trusts or can act as a guardian for a beneficiary who is a minor, for example.

If you and your family choose to hire a fiduciary to act as estate executor to your loved one’s estate, you should ensure that the individual is licensed by the proper regulatory authorities in your state or province.

Corporate executor

The problem with licensed fiduciaries is that not all of them specialize in estate settlement and probate, since their mandate can be so big. That’s where the corporate or professional executor comes in. A corporate executor is often hired by families who want to ensure that their loved one’s estate is being settled by a professional who has extensive knowledge of the probate and settlement process.

Corporate executors take on all the responsibilities surrounding probate, including dealing with paperwork, creating an inventory of the estate, and settling the deceased’s taxes. This way, families can rest easy knowing that their loved one’s estate is taken care of by a neutral expert while saving themselves a lot of time and stress in the process.

Historically, corporate executors have only been available to wealthier families who can afford the high rates that these professionals tend to charge. However, there is another way…

Or ClearEstate

ClearEstate’s professional executor services aims to give every family the chance to lean on an experienced, neutral executor during a challenging time. By choosing ClearEstate as the professional executor to your loved one’s estate, you’ll spare yourself and your family the burden of trying to navigate probate alone, often without prior experience.

Losing a loved one is already an incredibly difficult experience, and having to deal with the complex legal and financial aspects of probate only adds to the stress.

ClearEstate will settle your loved one’s estate thoroughly and professionally while saving you and your family thousands in legal and settlement fees. If you want to learn more about how ClearEstate can help you and your family settle a loved one’s estate, schedule a free consultation with us and get to know us!

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