Q&A: Executor duties

Dear Liz: My best friend made me her executor. She has no relatives. She has listed people to receive money, possessions and her house. She has left me money as well. Once everything is disbursed and bills paid, there will be leftover money. If she wants me to have it, what needs to be written in the trust?

Answer: Her will should include a phrase that disposes of her residuary estate. After listing specific bequests, she would include a phrase such as “the rest and residue of my estate goes to” followed by the name of the person she wants to have the remaining estate. This clause isn’t without its problems, however, since receiving the residuary estate could tempt you to stint the other beneficiaries. Keep in mind that as executor, you have a fiduciary duty to all the beneficiaries, which means you cannot put your own interests first.