I wanted to start our series of helpful resources for executors with the best starting point I think any executor can find— executor.org.

I found executor.org when I was initially researching for Sunny and wanted to understand what exactly is required of an executor and found this great website started by Patrick O’Brien. Executor.org contains the most robust and comprehensive information about the role of the executor and what to do. You answer a few simple questions and it creates an incredibly detailed step by step plan of everything that you would need to consider in your role of executor.

If you have recently been named as executor, I strongly recommend you check out executor.org before getting started! It prompts you to think about tasks you may not have considered before.

Here is my conversation with Patrick O’Brien of executor.org:

  • What does executor.org do and how does it help executors? Executor.org is a suite of free online tools to help executors understand their role and execute it more effectively. Users answer a few simple questions and are delivered a custom plan based on their situation. Think of it as an online “to do” list, as well as a place to store helpful information. We also offer instructional videos, and helpful content on all of the “to do” items in your plan. It’s a great way to help executors get and stay organized.
  • Why did you start it? When my parents died, I immediately went online to look for tools to help me understand exactly what an executor was and what my responsibilities were. I found nothing, so decided to build it as I thought that a digital tool could be a great resource for families going through this challenging process. By the way, the site is very simple to use. We found quickly that many of our users were older, and not always comfortable with technology, so we worked very hard to make our site simple to use.
  • What do you think is the hardest thing about serving as executor? I think the toughest part of the role is actually keeping the family together. So many families are ripped apart in this process due to mistrust and poor communication. Managing the legal aspect of the process, going through probate court, can also be difficult, but to me, in the end, the most important thing is to keep the family together. It’s what your loved one would have wanted, and there are strategies you can pursue that can help.
  • What do you think is something people often don’t realize in serving as executor?  They don’t realize just how complicated it is. Most of the custom plans we create for people are 100+ steps. It’s a lot! And you’re typically mourning the loss of a loved one while you’re trying to navigate the process – so not always at your best.
  • What is the best piece of advice you could share with an executor?  Don’t try to go it alone. Utilize professionals, as needed. Mistakes can be costly and put you at legal risk. So use executor.org to be a more knowledgeable consumer of professional services and to do things that you can do on your own, but don’t try to “play” lawyer or financial advisor. It’s a bad idea, in almost all cases.
  • How can people find out more about executor.orgJust visit our website. It’s free. There is no obligation of any kind. Let us build a plan for you, and if you like it, use it. If you don’t, you’ve wasted nothing but a few minutes of your time.We are here to help.

Thanks, Patrick! I can’t stress enough how great this website is for giving executor’s new to their role direction and clarity.