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Shrink Laureate

“Trixie hates to interrupt a good monologue,” said Trixie, interrupting a good monologue, “but maybe we should continue it somewhere not on fire?”

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On the event of your death, update 1: picking executors · 9:16am February 28th

This is an update to my post On the event of your death. I just want to say something I've learned from painful experience.

Do not appoint your friends or loved ones as your executors.

Being an executor is a stressful, thankless task that just sucks the life out of people.

For those not familiar with it, an executor is the person/people who take care of making sure the things that you said in your will actually happen. They have power over your finances, and responsibility to get it right. But this is also work they need do at the same time they're grieving. They need to sort through all your belongings - your clothes, papers, books, DVDs, porn, and stray USB cables - and a lot of those things will have emotional memories. This can be a cruel thing to impose on those you love.

This may count even more...

  • If your loved ones are fragile, mentally ill, suffering from stress of their own, or just highly strung. It takes a lot of wherewithal to be an executor and, through no fault of their own, some people just don't have that in them.
  • If your executors live a long way from you, and will have to travel to get to your property. It's worse if they live in a different country or state, where inheritance laws may be different.
  • If your executors have a debts or a bad credit rating. executors need to be able to deal with banks on your behalf, pay things in advance that won't be paid back for months later, etc. If they have money troubles of their own, this is going to be an extra struggle.
  • If you have debts or financial complications that your executors will need to unravel. They may end up stung with a nasty bill as they try to sort it out; and even a temporary deficit can have long term repercussions.

So if not your loved ones, who? You have two alternatives.

  1. Your worst enemy. This can be fitting form of revenge, if the person has enough sense of responsibility to do the job right; if they don't, it gives them the power to steal all your stuff.
  2. A solicitor. Yes, it costs a bit of money, but you can just pay a lawyer - probably the same one who helped you write a will in the first place - and they do the whole thing for you.

A small amount of money, for saving your loves ones months of pain.

Comments ( 7 )

Yes, honestly, since you've already involved a lawyer (hopefully!) for writing up the will, you may as well have him execute it. Especially if there's an estate that needs managing, that can get complicated fast.

Getting a lawyer to write a will cost me like a hundred bucks. Paying an executor sounds like a lot of hours...

I should organize my papers. It's a mess in here.

I'm sorry about the pain of the experience, but it seems like you're working to turn it towards productive ends, at least. Good luck.

Rather than a straight up foe, I’d recommend instead a frenemy.

I'd recommend appointing a Private Investigator who you have a shared mysterious past with, then leave hints of a conspiracy in a your residence. He'll have to execute his duty while to unravel a mystery that isn't there.

Practical experience here: My mother passed away at the age of 95, leaving us four siblings. The discussion went roughly "I wanted to have Neil as my executor, is that OK with everybody?" "Yeah, Mom." "Sounds good." "That'll work." "I wanted to split the estate into quarters, sound good?" (same responses) "Everybody goes off appraised cash value. Kevin is buying the farmground, so his portion goes to the debt first. Neil borrowed $X from me, same thing. Georg has $X left to pay on the house he's buying from me, same thing. Etc..." "Yeah, Mom. Sounds good. etc..."

That conversation happened five years before she died, over the course of about a year. We're a low-key German family, so most of the drama was "Do you have space for this" rather than "I want that!"

Advice: Get a will, even if it's incredibly simple. (she did) Get somebody everybody can *agree* on to be executor. (and if that's a family member, fine) Spend time with your parent and a camcorder (and a tripod), detailing what in the heck this is and who should get it. (a lot better than marking things with masking tape) Ex. The cuckoo clock was Neils. He bought it in Germany back in the 80s and gave it to mom and dad, so he got it back, but right next to that was a set of sit-on-the-shelf wooden fruit with arms and legs. We have no idea what they are, where they came from, et al... Take as many hours of video as you can. They're cheap, you'll treasure them for years afterward, and you'll have fewer What In The Heck Is This items as well as Where Are The Keys For This and How Many Of These Do You Have, Mom. Make a copy of the videos for each child and one for being stored with the will. Multi-gig thumb drives are cheap as dirt now.

A valid point. No longer does everything have to be on papyrus. Technology is a thing.

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