How Do I Appoint an Executor to My Estate in Maryland?

last will and testament

One of the most critical steps in estate planning is appointing an executor. An executor is responsible for administering a deceased person’s last will and testament. The testator often names an individual appointed executor before death or by the court. The primary duty is to carry out the wishes of the deceased based on the instructions dictated in their will or trust documents. Essentially, they ensure the assets are distributed to the intended beneficiaries. That said, being an executor is a significant responsibility. Please continue reading to learn the rules about who may serve as the executor of an estate in Maryland and how a seasoned  Montgomery County Estate Administration Attorney can help you make informed decisions during estate planning. 

Who Can I Appoint to Serve as an Executor in Maryland?

Firstly, an executor is an individual selected to oversee the execution of someone’s last will and testament after they pass, who is willing to follow the instructions stipulated and carry out the wishes of the deceased. Being an executor of an estate is no easy feat, and the job must be taken seriously as it comes with significant legal responsibilities. An executor must act in the estate’s and its beneficiaries’ best interests. Their primary job is to protect the estate until any outstanding debts and taxes have been paid and transfer the remaining assets to those entitled.

In Maryland, an executor is also referred to as a personal representative. Anyone can be an executor as long as they are over the age of 18 and are of sound mind. However, it would be best if you chose wisely as this is not an easy job. You are prohibited from naming an executor who has been convicted of a severe crime to demonstrate that they have a good reason to serve. In addition, the court will not appoint someone to serve as an executor if they are not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident unless they are a surviving spouse, ancestor, descendent, or sibling.

How to Choose an Executor?

For practical reasons, when you are choosing an executor of your estate, you should choose someone who lives near you or otherwise in the same state. Your executor will be responsible for carrying out the day-to-day legal matters of your estate for a substantial period. If you appoint someone to serve as your executor who lives far away, who lives far away, they will also face differences posed by Maryland for out-of-state executors. As a nonresident, the executor will appoint someone who lives in the state to act as a resident agent who will then accept legal papers on behalf of the estate.

Moreover, while acting to fulfill the provisions of a will, an executor will have to make difficult decisions, including how to handle an asset like a house when there are multiple heirs. They will be responsible for paying any outstanding debts and taxes on the estate. As such, you must appoint someone not only that you trust but also someone who you trust to carry out the duties of this role. While you may want to appoint a family member, you should consider an attorney or an accountant.

For more information regarding who can serve as an executor of an estate in Maryland, please don’t hesitate to contact an adept attorney from JD Katz, who can help you appoint the right person.