Choosing an executor who is not friend/family

How would I go about choosing someone (or an institution) to be my executor without it being a friend or family member?

I don’t have children, siblings, or any close relatives. I have friends, but no Significant Other, and my closest friend doesn’t live near me and is about my age. I do not want to burden a mid-range friend with this, and frankly, there’s no one who loves me enough to do it out of love (or even out of duty).

I don’t have a current will and need to rectify that situation. I do have a few specific bequests in mind regarding some property I own (to charities that I support) and a very few personal items that I want to go to my late husband’s children (I’m only close to one of them, but I don’t want him as an executor). I have someone in mind whom I can direct to find homes for my animals, if there are any when I go to the Rainbow Bridge. (If I’m not going there, I’m not going anywhere.)

The rest of my stuff can be hauled to the dump or sold and the proceeds donated to charity. Hell, the house could be opened and the neighbors invited to come in and take what they want. I really don’t care what happens.

Is this something my local Jewish Federation would want to take on (yes, they can have some or all of the proceeds)? Surely they often come across people who have no family to take on this task.

Not sure where to start with this…

Look under “estate management”. There are companies that do this – they aren’t cheap. Depending on the size of your estate, it might not be worthwhile to hire one.

Thanks, I’ll look. My “estate” is NOT large. Lemme put it this way, it’s not within spitting distance of estate taxes. Not even spitting by the watermelon seed spitting champion.

Do you own a home? For most people, that’s their biggest asset. It might also be an asset that would have to be sold to hire an estate manager.

As the executor of my uncle’s estate, I hired a lawyer to do certai things – basically make sure that all the legal requirements (filings of court papers, notice to heirs or potential hears, etc.) were performed as the law requires. I did most of the other work – opened an estate bank account, sold my uncle’s stuff (including his car), brought the death certificate to his bank and get access to his accounts, wrote the reports and wrote the checks to the heirs, etc.

The lawyer cost the estate about 3 grand, and offered to do virtually all the other work – for a price of course. At a guess, the lawyer would have cost at least another 10 grand for all the other stuff.

Many estate attorneys will be willing to make similar officers – they will handle the legal issues and they will be willing to have their staff handle the more mundane administrative tasks associated with managing the estate. Get a few estimates and decide if you will have enough left at the end to give anything of value to anyone.

From my understanding (which may be wrong), if you write a will but do not name an executor the court will appoint one. I think they basically look for volunteers, so it would tend to be someone who benefits from the will. So that would avoid having someone do it who doesn’t want to do it.

This may vary according to the state, though.

I think in every state, an executor is entitled to some money from the estate. So even if you die intestate, I think anyone who ends up as the executor of the estate can get a little bit of compensation for the work they do.

Assuming you only have a couple of beneficiaries, you won’t be burdening your friend if your estate is small enough for summary administration. You might consider distributing the stuff you want your husband’s kids to get now to simplify things.

This is not necessarily true In my uncle’s case (he lived in Illinois) the estate has to be opened in the court of the county where he lived and died. The meant three trips down there for me (to deal with his bank, hire a local lawyer, and a later consultation with him), which would be a considerable burden to someone who lived a good distance away.

That’s true in most places. I meant a geographically close friend.

It’s not that the estate is small, which it is, but that it has some wrinkles. I own a rental house, which I would like not to be sold. I’d be fine with giving it to the tenant, as he’s been there for years and has done some work on it. I also sold my house and financed it myself, so there’s that. I’d like to forgive the mortgage and give it to the people who are buying it. I like them a lot and would love to make that gift. I also own a vacation house, which is currently on the market. Don’t know what to do about that. I do have some stocks (well, more than “some”). There will be some sorting and some work involved.

I don’t care what happens to the money after I die. I don’t care if there’s nothing left. I don’t care what happens to the small portable items, except for a couple of things for my husband’s son (which I may just *give *him one of these days). My mother is my only blood relative and she doesn’t want anything. In fact, she unburdened herself of the rental house last year and gave it to me!

I don’t want to stick a mid-level friend with this kind of task. I’d much rather have strangers do it for money. Also, my friends are my age and older, so who’s to say they’ll even be around? An institution will be around.

Just the stuff I had to do when my husband died was almost overwhelming to me at the time, and I didn’t even have to dispose of anything… just changing stuff over, bank accounts, stocks, insurance, etc. And recently, when I moved, hiring someone to move and sell all of my stuff from the old house-- major headache. I’d do this for someone I loved, but I wouldn’t do it for money, and I wouldn’t ask a friend to do it for love OR money. Even if they said they were willing and wanted to.

Back to a question I asked earlier: does anyone think I could get some help from my local Jewish Federation or synagogue, especially if I promised them a hunk of whatever $$ is left?

(Thanks for the replies. :slight_smile: )

I’m sure your local JF could help. If nothing else, they could recommend a lawyer to work out your will with you and serve as your executor. If you don’t know who to ask about it at your local JF, your rabbi probably knows enough of the people there to tell who you should speak to.

Well, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to ask the Jewish Federation if they have the resources to help you. At the very least, they should be able to redirect you to the professional resources that can help you.

Long before my mother felt the slightest bit ill, she took advantage of some senior assistance programs, one of which was a legal consultant who helped her set up a living trust and a basic will. She even called them again, years later, to change some of the stipulations. Both of those consultations were free, largely because she had some pretty routine preferences and 90% of the legal document was from a template. Much later, when my mother actually passed away, my sister contacted a different (more localized) senior aid group that my mother had been working with for transportation and occasional meal deliveries. They directed my sister to an attorney who specialized in estate settlements and offered a ‘first hour free’ deal. We spent less than an hour in his office, basically established which will was active and relevant, and what that will said about property, possessions, bills, etc., and went our separate ways.

Under normal circumstances, everything would have run quite smoothly from there and little to no action by an executor would have been necessary because my mother spelled out everything quite clearly in her will. [The deviance-from-normal is a twisted and tortious tale that isn’t relevant here.]

Who gets breakfast?
Who gets the lunch?
Who gets to be
The boss of this bunch?
…–David Crosby (CSN)
In My Dreams