How NOT to Drive in Winter Weather

Winter driving has its challenges. But throw an inexperienced — or inconsiderate — driver into the mix, and your daily commute can get much more difficult.

It’s always aggravating when other drivers put you at risk. Getting stuck behind a driver who is spinning their tires or not paying attention isn’t just annoying… it’s dangerous.

Winter driving calls for quick decision making, patience and a little bit of know-how. Below you’ll find ways to spot a rookie winter driver — and how to avoid looking like one yourself:

Here are six common mistakes of winter drivers:

  • Tailgating: Usually, drivers tailgate because they want the car in front of them to go faster. This is never OK, especially in the winter months. It takes longer to come to a stop in the winter, so you should always put more distance between you and the car ahead. Impatience on the road rarely pays off – tailgating just puts you and others at risk.
  • Speeding: Speeding can get you into trouble quickly. Make sure you’re never driving faster than what is safe for the conditions. In snowy or icy conditions, that probably means driving below the speed limit. The faster you’re going, the more likely you are to lose control or slide into another car. Expect traffic to move a little slower in the winter and allow extra time to get to your destination.
  • Getting stuck: Driving through deep snow may sound like fun, but chances are it will leave your tires spinning. For your own safety, know when to stay off the road altogether and drive carefully to avoid losing traction in the first place. After all, getting stuck is easy – getting out isn’t.
  • Ice on the windshield: If your car has snow or ice on the windshield, it can be tempting to save time by letting your wipers or defroster remove it as you drive. But driving without full visibility is like driving blindfolded. Use a snow brush or ice scraper to clear your windshield entirely every time you get behind the wheel.  (And don’t just clear a little “window” you can see through!)
  • Snow on the roof: If you’ve ever driven behind someone with snow on their roof, you know it can be an accident waiting to happen. If your car is covered in snow, take the time to clear your roof before you tackle the windows. You’ll keep snow from falling in your field of vision and from hitting the drivers behind you.
  • Driving with high beams on: This can be frustrating in any condition, but some people think that high beams will increase your vision during whiteouts or heavy snowfall. In fact, fog lights and low beams will do much better.

EFM&A Welcomes Ian Hurtubise

Emerling Floss Murphy & Associates is pleased to announce the hiring of Ian Hurtubise as a Group Benefits Consultant.  Ian specializes in disability and has his NYS Life, Accident, and Health license.

He loves learning about how his clients impact the WNY area, and he loves working and educating his clients about Group Benefits.

Ian lives in East Amherst with his fiancee, Jessica his dog, Pepper, and his cat, Pita. Outside of work he coaches college hockey, he is renovating his new house, and he enjoys hiking, biking, or running with Pepper!

Emerling Floss Murphy & Associates Group Benefits department has substantially grown throughout the past year, especially as businesses have adjusted their portfolios to attract and maintain employees.

Emerling Floss Murphy & Associates serves as an intermediary between companies and several Group Insurance Companies, helping match plans that best suit the needs.  The clientele ranges from businesses with less than five employees, to large corporations with thousands of employees.  The Group Benefits team has specialists that cover this range, along with a strong support team that ensures a streamlined rollout to the employees.

Car Gift Ideas: 39 Car Accessories, Gadgets and More

With Christmas quickly approaching, you’re running out of time to get the perfect gift for those special people in your life.

Here’s our list of the top car-related gifts you can buy for your friends and family – from the commuting road warrior to the die-hard auto enthusiast, and everyone in between.

CAR GIFT IDEAS FOR COMMUTERS

  • Wireless charger: These days, our smartphones are an essential piece of equipment – which can make keeping them fully charged a challenge. A charging pad for the car means they’ll never have to think about plugging in a smartphone. Just place it in the console and the power flows automatically.
  • Drinkware: Cold brew is cool – unless you’re prepared for piping hot. A vacuum-insulated travel mug will keep hot drinks hot (or cold drinks cold) for hours on end, making them the perfect accessory for any long commute.
  • Dashcam: Accidents happen. And if you’re logging lots of miles behind the wheel each day, the likelihood of a fender bender is even higher. A dashcam easily mounts to the car’s windshield and will record everything that happens from the moment you turn the key. This can provide important evidence in the event of an accident, especially during a hit-and-run.
  • Jump starter: Click-click-click…that dreaded sound means your battery’s dead. You could call Emergency Roadside Service or ask a stranger for a jump start (assuming one of you has jumper cables). But the fastest, easiest and safest way is to use a battery jump starter. These portable booster packs feature a battery that’s powerful enough to jump a car on its own. Best of all, new models by companies such as NOCO and Stanley are compact and won’t break the bank.
  • Emergency kit: A well-stocked emergency kit is important for every driver. But this is especially true for those who spend a lot of time on the road. Buy a premade kit from your local auto parts store or assemble your own car emergency kit.
  • Bluetooth receiver: Do you know someone with an older car that doesn’t have Bluetooth capability? No problem! Just buy a Bluetooth receiver, plug it into the car’s auxiliary power outlet (cigarette lighter), and they can play tunes wirelessly through the radio using the built-in FM transmitter.
  • Custom floor mats: During rain and snow, those carpet floor mats that come standard with your car can turn into a wet, filthy mess. Universal all-weather floor mats provide a step up. But for the best protection, consider a more custom solution. You can buy rubberized floor mats designed to fit perfectly in any vehicle from companies like WeatherTech or the vehicle’s manufacturer.
  • Phone mount: Cell phone use is by far the top cause of distracted driving. Help keep their eyes on the road with a dash- or windshield-mounted phone holder. A mount will make for safer driving when using key smartphone features, like GPS navigation – but remember, always keep your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.
  • Audiobooks: Know someone who wants to make more time for reading? Help them use all that commuting time to their advantage. It’s easy to play an audiobook from your smartphone and listen to it during a drive. To satisfy their inner bookworm, consider a gift card to Amazon or a subscription to a service like Audible.
  • Music subscriptions: After hours in the car, you can get tired of the same old music. And if you’re using a streaming service or listening to the radio, hearing the same ads on repeat is even worse. Buy a premium subscription to a streaming service like Pandora, Spotify, Amazon Music or Apple Music – or a subscription to SiriusXM satellite radio – to give the gift of ad-free music enjoyment.
  • Tire inflator: Low on air? A portable tire inflator will plug into their vehicle’s power outlet and allow them to fill up anywhere, no gas station required.
  • Steering wheel desk: Working from the road can be tough. Improve the ergonomics of their mobile workplace with a desk that attaches to the steering wheel. It makes for a great place to send a few emails, or even eat lunch – while you’re safely parked, of course.

CUTE CAR ACCESSORIES

  • Steering wheel cover: Add some extra style to their ride with a custom steering wheel cover to match their personality. (Think: leopard, Aztec, boho, or bling.) Or choose something soft and fuzzy to take the edge off that winter cold.
  • Headrest hangers: These specially designed hooks attach to the posts of a headrest, allowing them to hang nearly anything into the backseat. They work great for bags, purses or clothing.
  • Seat covers: Whether their car’s seats are worn and stained, or they’d just like an added pop of color, seat covers can be a great solution. You can even buy a heated seat cover that plugs into the vehicle’s auxiliary power outlet, if they drive a car that didn’t come with factory-installed heated seats.
  • Interior lights: Brighten up the interior of any vehicle with LED lighting strips. These lights are designed to be mounted in the footwells of the car for better visibility. They’re easy to install, and you can even customize the colors through a mobile app. (Just make sure the mood lighting doesn’t distract you on the road.)
  • Glove box organizer: Do you know someone who struggles finding their registration and proof of insurance when they need it? A glove compartment organizer can help keep everything well sorted, so it’s always there when they need it. (ERIE customer? Download the ERIE mobile app for access to your policy information at your fingertips.)
  • Seat belt pad: Wearing a seat belt can save your life in the event of an accident. But the shoulder straps can also get uncomfortable over long periods of time. A seat belt pad wraps around the shoulder strap to provide some needed relief. And they’re available in tons of colors, materials and styles.

FUNNY CAR ACCESSORIES

  • Key finder: Do you know someone who can never find their keys? A key finder, available from companies such as Tile, makes it easy to find those lost keys. Just activate the keychain alarm from a smartphone, and they’ll save hours spent digging through couch cushions.
  • Model car: Shopping for someone whose dream car is an exotic Porsche, Ferrari or Lamborghini? You may not be able to get them a new ride, but you could make a joke out of buying a scaled-down version from Lego or Hot Wheels.
  • Hula dancer: Bring back some retro style with a vintage dashboard doll. Choose the classic hula dancer, or any number of other bobbleheads available. (Just don’t let all that wiggling distract you from the road.)
  • Fuzzy dice: Speaking of retro, nothing screams 1950s car culture like a pair of fuzzy dice hanging from the rearview mirror.
  • Seat gap filler: Always losing things in the gap between the seat and the car’s center console? Save them from searching that seemingly bottomless pit with a seat gap filler, like Drop Stop. Originally a Shark Tank invention, this car-related gift may seem ridiculous, but it can actually be quite helpful in the moment.
  • Trash can: From fast-food wrappers to disposable masks, car clutter can drive you crazy. For your messier friends and family, a mini trash can could incentivize them to keep things a little cleaner.
  • Bumper stickers: Bumper stickers are the original funny car accessory. With thousands to choose from, you’re bound to find something that fits their personality – or leverages an inside joke.

GIFT IDEAS FOR CAR ENTHUSIASTS

  • Code scanner: We’ve all experienced the dreaded “check engine” light. Help them get to the bottom of why the light’s on with a code scanner. Just plug it into the car’s diagnostic port and use the scanner to pull the engine code. Newer versions can even connect to your phone for a more user-friendly experience.
  • Detailing kit: Help the car lover in your life keep their ride clean with a detailing kit. There are tons of kits available that include items such as car wash, wax, microfiber towels, glass cleaner and tire shine.
  • Driving gloves: For the serious driver, a pair of leather gloves can be a great gift. Though they’re probably unnecessary for newer cars with power steering, they can still help them feel like their favorite racing driver.
  • Magazine subscription: Give them access to the latest news on what’s going on in the car world with a subscription to an enthusiast magazine like Car and Driver, Road & Track or Motor Trend.
  • Driving shoes: Spirited driving in a car with a manual transmission can require some fancy footwork. Driving shoes, sold by companies like Piloti and Puma, offer a thin profile to improve pedal feel, with extra grip on the parts of the sole where it’s needed most.
  • Tool kit: Having a small set of portable tools in your car can really help in a bind. This is an especially good gift for the car lover who loves wrenching on their own vehicle.
  • Driving experience: Let them live out their automotive fantasy by taking an exotic sports car around a local road course. Or pretend they’re a NASCAR driver at the Richard Petty Driving Experience. A driving experience like this may only last a few hours, but they’ll talk about it for years to come.
  • Tire pressure gauge: Running the right tire pressure at each corner of your vehicle can make a real difference in your car’s performance. Help them get an exact reading with a digital tire pressure gauge.
  • Driving school: High performance driving schools aren’t like that drivers ed course you took in high school. Instead of parallel parking, they can take their car to a local race track and learn how to improve their skills behind the wheel from a seasoned pro.

GIFT IDEAS FOR PET LOVERS

  • Portable vacuum: We love our pets. But the hair they leave behind… not so much. Buy the pet lover in your life a small portable vacuum to keep in the car. It’ll help clean up any hairball in an instant.
  • Seat protectors: A muddy day at the dog park can mean hours cleaning the back seat after the ride home. Pet seat protectors are designed to lay on top of the rear seat, creating a protective barrier that’s easy to take out and wash.
  • Safety harness: You wear a seat belt in the car to keep you safe. Your pet should, too. There’s a wide range of pet safety gear available on the market today, from harnesses and clips to leashes and carriers. Learn more in our guide on how to keep pets safe in cars.
  • Air freshener: Scooby smells sweet…until he gets wet. (Ugh.) Get rid of that dreaded wet dog smell with an air freshener or deodorizer designed specifically for pets.
  • Cargo liner: Does a pet frequently ride in the back of their crossover or SUV? A rubber cargo liner will keep any mess they create from damaging the vehicle. You can even purchase barriers to keep pets from jumping into the back seat.

FEEL RIGHT AT HOME

From your driver seat settings to the position of the steering wheel and your favorite station on the radio, your car is your safe haven on the road.

How to Avoid Hitting a Deer

Autumn is beautiful, but it also introduces some fall driving hazards… deer collisions being one of them. From October to December, mating and hunting season make deer go on the move. For drivers, that means you’re more likely to hit one.

But have you ever wondered how your auto insurance can cover hitting a deer? Are deer collisions covered by comprehensive or collision coverage?

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, deer-vehicle collisions are the top animal-related claim in the U.S. Before you get too worried, here are some helpful tips on how to avoid hitting a deer… and how to handle things if you end up hitting one despite your best efforts.

HOW TO AVOID HITTING A DEER

  1. Know where the deer are likely to be. Areas with high deer populations are normally marked with a bright yellow sign. Deer also tend to graze in wooded areas or open fields. When driving your usual route to work, be attentive to areas where you’ve seen deer in the past – they are likely to cross there again.
  2. Be alert at sunrise and sunset. Deer are more active during dawn and dusk hours.
  3. Use your high beams. When possible, use your high beams for better visibility. The extra light will help make it easier to spot a deer, or other animals, lurking alongside the road.
  4. Don’t rely on deer gadgets. Whether it’s a deer whistle, deer fence or other type of product to scare away the deer… don’t rely solely on them to keep deer away. Research isn’t exact on whether or not these products truly work.
  5. When you see one… you’ll probably see more. Deer travel in groups. If one comes across your path, proceed with caution in case there are more.
  6. Don’t swerve. Swerving isn’t always the safest option. Hitting a deer might often cause less damage than swerving to avoid it… and then hitting a more dangerous obstacle, like a vehicle in oncoming traffic.
  7. Wear your seat belt. If you do hit a deer, wearing a seat belt decreases your chances of injury.
  8. Spread the word. When friends or family head out on the road, let them know to be careful and alert. Even a simple reminder can help prevent deer collisions.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU HIT A DEER

Taking the above precautions can help you avoid hitting a deer… but nothing can entirely rule out the possibility. Here are steps you can take after you hit a deer.

  1. Pull over. Move your vehicle to a safe place off the road. Don’t forget to turn on your hazard lights.
  2. Stay away from the deer. An injured deer can still lash out and hurt someone.
  3. Assess the damage. When you’re out of harm’s way, examine your vehicle and take photographs of any damage to your car. Use good judgement to know if your car is safe to drive or if you’ll need to call for a tow truck.
  4. Call for help. Depending on the circumstances, consider calling the police or an animal expert. While it’s not always required to file a police report, it can provide evidence if you decide to make an insurance claim. If the deer is still in the middle of the road, a trained professional from animal control, the game commission or your local fish and wildlife service can move it away for everyone’s safety.
  5. Know if you should file an insurance claim. An insurance professional can help you make the decision based on the specifics of your auto insurance policy. Talking with someone you already know and who is familiar with the claims process can help put your mind more at ease.

DOES MY AUTO INSURANCE COVER HITTING A DEER?

You can’t always predict if a deer will walk into your path, but if one does, we’re here to help get you back on the road as soon as possible.

We can help you customize an auto insurance package that fits your needs and budget.

Why You Shouldn’t Cut Corners on Business Insurance

Owning a small business can be one of life’s greatest balancing acts. Every day there’s the stress of managing employees, finding (and retaining) customers and monitoring cash flow. And on top of that, you’ll always feel the pressure to keep costs down — and productivity up.

For business owners looking to boost their bottom line, cutting back on insurance expenses can be a real temptation. After all, insurance premiums are usually a fixed cost. Especially if you’ve never had to file a claim, those monthly payments can feel like just another bill to pay.

But without adequate protection, an accident of any kind could be detrimental to the business you’ve worked so hard to build. Here’s why cutting corners on business insurance doesn’t pay off.

WHY IS BUSINESS INSURANCE IMPORTANT?

Like your personal home and auto policies, business insurance is meant to help business get back to normal after an accident, which can include lawsuits, property damage, injuries and more.

As a result, business insurance is a necessary expense. But that doesn’t mean it’s without return. Here are some benefits to having the right commercial insurance.

  • Stay legal. Depending on the state you operate in, certain policies may be required by law, regardless of your business’ size. For example, many states require a business owner to purchase workers’ compensation insurance, even if you only have a single employee.
  • Care for employees. As a small business owner, your employees are like members of the family. And you depend on them to help run your business. Workers’ compensation can cover medical care and lost wages if they’re injured on the job.
  • Protect your business from the unexpected. Sometimes, accidents happen. The right insurance coverage can protect your business after something unexpected happens, such as if you become legally liable for injuries suffered by a customer after something like a slip-and-fall accident at your business.
  • Boost your reputation. Solid protection can instill confidence from employees and clients alike. Having coverage that’s in everyone’s best interest shows others that you’re willing to invest in their safety and well-being.
  • Qualify for contracts. Securing a new business contract often requires you to have minimum limits of certain business insurance coverages, especially if loans are involved.
  • Recover from natural disasters. Mother Nature can level businesses and make recovery seem impossible. The right coverage can help put your mind at ease and get you back to work.
  • Cover legal costs. Lawsuits are notorious for taking up time and racking up bills. Business insurance can help you prepare for interruptions and keep legal costs from emptying your bank account.

HOW TO SAVE ON BUSINESS INSURANCE

Many times, cutting back on your business insurance coverage can expose you to far more risk than the premiums you’ll save are worth. If you’re looking for savings, here are some tips to help keep costs in check without sacrificing protection:

  • Review your policy annually. Meet with us to review your policy each year and make sure your coverage is up to date. A policy review can help ensure every asset is accounted for, and that every opportunity for savings is taken advantage of.
  • Maintain proper employee classifications. Employee class codes have implications, especially in dangerous work environments. Make sure that you and your team are accurately classified to save money and protect your workers.
  • Keep coverage during every season. During slow seasons, you might be tempted to let your coverage lapse. However, lapsed coverage leaves your business vulnerable and could lead to fees and higher rates. Every business’s circumstances are different, but generally speaking, it’s wise to consider year-round coverage.
  • Bundle your coverages. Many insurance providers offer savings when you purchase multiple policies with them. Take advantage of multi-policy discounts, get more comprehensive protection and ease the claims process by bundling business insurance with one provider.
  • Create a safer environment. Train and educate employees on workplace safety to help reduce rates and liabilities.
  • Upgrade your security. Find weaknesses in your physical and digital security systems. Decreasing the chances of a break-in or data breach could help reduce payments and stop an incident from happening in the first place.
  • Pay annually. If you can afford the upfront cost, consider paying your insurance premiums annually. You’ll skip fees that might be associated with monthly payments, and you can relax knowing you have year-round coverage and one less bill to worry about.
  • Add endorsements. Endorsements can help address coverage gaps for sometimes pennies on the dollar. Ask your insurance agent which endorsements would benefit you the most or bundle well with your current policy.

HALLOWEEN SAFETY TIPS FOR HOMEOWNERS

No matter the trick-or-treaters’ game plan, they are ready for a candy bonanza – and that starts with a knock at your door. So don’t let slips, trips and falls dampen anyone’s night. Make sure you fit in a simple safety check before you fill the candy bowl.

  1. Clear the walkways. Toys, rakes, errant stones — clear them all out of the way before trick-or-treating starts. (Wet leaves are an especially slippery culprit!) A quick clean-up is one of the easiest ways to make your home safer from slip, trip and fall hazards.
  2. Light it up. Turn on your exterior lights, including any flood lights, to help create a safe path for trick-or-treaters. Check these early so you have time to replace any burned-out bulbs.
  3. Corral your pets. With all the doorbells and visitors, Halloween can be stressful for your animals  – and even a well behaved pet can bite or scratch when they feel anxious. A constantly opening door makes it easy for furry friends to escape, too. A better idea? Keep pets in a secured room or wing of the house.
  4. Lock all other doors. Mischief can happen when you’re doling out candy, so play it safe by locking all of your other doors. (That includes any garage and car doors, too!) The FBI reports that approximately 30% of all burglaries are committed without force courtesy of an unlocked door or window.
  5. Check your railing. If it feels rickety, take the time to secure it in place.
  6. Skip candles. Yes, they give your pumpkins that spooky glow. But a live flame isn’t worth the fire risk you consider all the draping costumes and accessories that will whiz by the flame. Pro tip: Opt for the flameless variety instead.
  7. Consider your candy choices. Many kids are allergic to candy ingredients like nuts. To help them enjoy the holiday, The Teal Pumpkin Project encourages leaving a teal pumpkin on your stoop to let trick-or-treaters know that you have non-food treats like stickers and toys on hand.
  8. Pick a good spot. If you have a lot of stairs or a long, winding path, consider handing out candy at the end of your driveway.
  9. Comb your yard. With all luck, the kiddos will stay on sidewalks and driveways. But they may wander. Clear out sticks, objects or other tripping hazards from your yard.

Cyber Security Checklist: Cover Your Bases

Cover Your Bases Across Regulatory Compliance, Insurance and Privacy Training

If you’ve watched the news in the last few months, you already know cyber events are no joke. Recent ransomware attacks, including at Colonial Pipeline, have significantly impacted critical infrastructure and supply chains, resulting in millions of dollars in losses.

For businesses large and small, compliance with federal, state and foreign privacy laws and regulations has become an essential obligation. These laws govern a company’s collection, storage, use, sharing and disposal of personally identifiable information (PII), protected health information (PHI) and payment card information (PCI). A company’s inadvertent failure to abide by these laws, or its failure to timely and fully disclose how it performs such tasks, can make it a target for regulatory proceedings and civil class actions. These lapses can also be a source of reputational damage.

Failure to protect private information can also lead to consumer class actions. And, organizations could be presented with shareholder suits if the value of an organization is harmed due to a cybersecurity event.

Here are a few things you can do to ensure adequate risk mitigation and protection for businesses of all sizes.

1 – Don’t ignore data security and privacy compliance.

2 – Create and memorialize regulatory compliance policies and procedures.

3 – Make sure your website is up to date with the most applicable laws.

4 – Conduct an audit, to get a health check of your cyber security status.

5 – Purchase a broad cyber liability insurance policy, which can protect you from enduring substantial loss should you have a cyber breach.

In today’s world, risk transfer alone isn’t enough to protect a business from the implications of a cyberattack. The right combination of a well-placed cyber liability insurance policy, compliance knowledge and review, employee training, and loss mitigation services are an effective approach to reduce a company’s cyber risks and potential exposures.

Top Fall Driving Hazards (And How to Handle Them)

Fall is a favorite time of year for many.  Changing leaves, plaid shirts and pumpkin spice everything is just a start.  But we also get shorter days, falling leaves, and that first frost of the season.

Drivers should be mindful of these changes, as this can alter your driving in ways you might not expect.

RAIN AND WET LEAVES

As the weather cools down, the rain picks up. Combine that with lower temperatures and you’ll find your tires may have less grip than they did in the summer months.

To start, always drive cautiously in wet conditions – that includes driving slower than you would on a dry road. And be on the lookout for wet leaves, which can be as slick as ice.

It’s also important to check your tires to ensure they have enough tread. Insert a penny into your tread with Abraham Lincoln’s head upside down and facing you. If you insert the penny all the way and all of Lincoln’s head is still showing, that means your tread has worn down and it’s time for new tires.

Driving too fast for the conditions or cruising on worn tires can lead to hydroplaning.

DEER COLLISIONS

Deer are most active from October to January, especially during the dusk and dawn hours. If you’ve ever seen the aftermath of a deer collision, you know it can do severe damage to your vehicle.

Avoid deer on the roadways by slowing down during peak hours, paying attention to road signs and using your high beams to increase visibility when possible.

EARLIER SUNSETS

The days get shorter in the fall, so you’ll find yourself driving in the dark more often. This is another peak time for accidents.

Make sure you’re staying alert during nighttime hours. Be on the lookout for pedestrians and turn your headlights on during dawn or dusk hours. Keep a safe distance from other vehicles and know when to swerve if there’s an object in the road.

SCHOOL CHILDREN

The kids are back to school. The house is quieter. But if you drive just before the school day starts or after it ends…you’re in for lots of crosswalks and bus stops.

Since more kids are walking and biking to school, you’ll need to stay alert around schools and neighborhoods. Be aware of bus safety and school drop-off procedures as well. And if you’d like to avoid the risk altogether, consider finding a new route to avoid these high-traffic areas.

It’s always important to be prepared. But even the most cautious drivers can find themselves face-to-face with something unexpected.

How to Choose an Executor for Your Will

While no one likes thinking about their own mortality, writing a will is an important part of planning for your family’s future.

When creating a will, you start by deciding who will receive your assets when you’re gone. But this is just the first step. Once your plan is on paper, someone still has to make sure your final wishes are met and your family is cared for.

That someone is your executor – the person designated to perform all the legal tasks related to your last will and testament. It’s a big job. So before you write down a name, seriously consider the responsibilities to determine who might be a good fit.

WHAT DOES AN EXECUTOR DO?

Your executor doesn’t have to be a professional. All it takes is a patient, mature person who can handle the responsibility.

The duties of an executor include:

  • Offering your will for probate
  • Taking inventory and managing your assets
  • Using your estate’s funds to pay bills, including taxes, funeral and burial costs
  • Notifying banks, creditors, and government agencies of the death
  • Distributing assets to beneficiaries
  • Preparing and filing final income tax returns
  • Paying off any debts

HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT PERSON TO BE YOUR EXECUTOR

Because of the significant responsibilities placed on your executor, not everyone will be right for the job. Here are some tips on how to choose an executor for your will:

  1. Choose someone you trust. Pick someone who is emotionally and financially wise. It helps if you know your executor will be humble enough to ask for help if things get complicated, too.
  2. Name a successor. Ideally, your executor will outlive you. But in the event that doesn’t happen, it’s always wise to name a successor – just in case.
  3. Avoid any feuds. When it comes to dividing your estate, tensions can run high. Choose a neutral party that will cause the least amount of conflict. Consider a group who works well together, or someone outside of the family to minimize disputes.
  4. Choose someone qualified. Make sure your first choice is a legal one. In most cases, non-U.S. citizens, felons and minors can’t act as executors. If your executor is young – such as a son or daughter – you can request that he or she only acts as executor after reaching a certain age.
  5. Find a third party, if needed. Consider using a bank, trust company, or other professional to manage your estate. Third parties can ease the burden for loved ones, and the cost can be covered from your estate.
  6. Change if necessary. As your life and relationships change, you may want to consider changing your executor, too. Periodically review your will to ensure your executor is still someone you trust to serve your estate.
  7. Get their approval. Always talk to your executor about the role beforehand.  Go over your will so they’re prepared for the work ahead. This will make it less overwhelming for them when the time comes.
1 2 3 4

Search

+