No, it’s not a good idea to have an out-of-state executor. Although it’s technically legally allowed, in reality an out-of-state executor causes tons of problems.
Opening the estate account
You probably think opening a bank account is a piece of cake. And you’d be right, if you were opening an account for yourself, personally.
But banking for an estate is a different animal. But an estate account has tougher “know your client” rules, and the executor often must meet with a banker in person, at a branch, to open an estate bank account.
When you have a problem with your personal bank account, these days you have limitless customer support options. Website, email, live chat, tweets, or call or walk in.
But with estates, you usually must walk into a branch and speak with a banker to get that missing statement or re-issue that 1099. And that can be a pain for an out-of-state executor.
Selling Real Estate
Yes, cleaning out the home or apartment is part of the executor’s duties. For an out-of-state executor, this can mean several trips in and out of New York to supervise the clean out.
New York is one of the few states where most real estate closings are in-person, with all parties sitting around a table for a few hours.
Yes, it’s sometimes possible to close with an out-of-state executor by signing and FedEx-ing the documents. But if any problems popup (as they often do with estate sales), it’s better to close in-person, so the lawyers can troubleshoot any problems in realtime, and avoid an aborted closing.
Minor stuff (mail forward, etc.)
There are countless small executor tasks to get the home ready for sale. Forwarding the mail, small repairs, returning extra keys, conversations with the super, etc. All much easier to handle with a local, New York executor.
Sometimes an executor simply cannot legally enter the US:
- Unable to get a visa
- Immigration problems
- Quarantine or other travel restrictions
If any of these apply, the heirs may be better off hiring a New York professional executor, rather than a non-New York person.