During your estate planning, choosing the right executor is a very important and crucial decision. This will be the person you give the responsibility to for administering your estate and finalizing your last wishes. When you pick the right executor, you are ensuring that there is a prompt and sufficient distribution of your property.

After you pass, you should think that the person who you name as executor will be stepping into your shoes to handle the legal tasks that you used to do. This includes paying debts, selling property, and distributing assets. You can see how this can be an important job, so you may be wondering how to go about choosing this person. Here are some factors that can assist you in the decision-making process.

Pick someone who is responsible – Your executor does not need to have a law degree or be a financial planner. But they should have your confidence as a responsible person. You may want to look for qualities such as how they can effectively communicate and how they may handle tough decisions.

Family may or may not know best – Naming an executor usually comes down to trust. Many times, it is a family member who you will trust the most. But even trust may not matter if there is friction in the family. A family member does not automatically have to be your choice for executor. However, a trusted friend of many years can also cause the family hard feelings. If the decision is too difficult, you can always have an attorney or financial expert be the executor.

Who can handle the work? – The duty of an executor can be a hard and time-consuming job. There are times when even what is believed to be a simple probate can be a frustrating and stressful process. Tasks such as court appearances, cleaning out living spaces and even arranging for trash pick-up can be daunting. On top of that, having to deal with impatient beneficiaries add to the importance of who does the job. You will want to make sure you choose someone who has the discipline and work ethic to handle these duties.

Once you have chosen who you want to be as executor, it is a good idea to speak to the person right away about it. If they don’t find out they are your executor until your passing, there is a chance they may not be found, and they will not have the chance to speak with you directly if they happen to have questions regarding your final wishes.

Philip J. Kavesh
Nationally recognized attorney helping clients with customized estate planning guidance for over 40 years.
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