How to Choose the Executor for Your Estate

You should review many factors when you choose the person who will manage your estate. Your executor should fulfill specific parameters depending on your financial situation, familial and other concerns. Among the general responsibilities of an executor are review and execution of wills and trusts, create a detailed record of actions regarding the estate, file the will with probate, make death notifications, pay debts and manage assets. Some common mistakes to avoid are procrastination, sentimentality and failure to research options. What you do need to do is consider the following when you select your executor.

  • Determine whether you want to hire a neutral professional such as an accountant or attorney to handle your estate. Those who tend to choose professionals are often those with multiple properties and diverse financial resources. Also, some people choose a neutral party when there is not a suitable family member or friend to take the responsibility. Talk with several choices and compare fees to help select the right individual to manage your remaining financial obligations.
  • Look for the following traits in the person you choose as executor. Many people choose a family member or friend instead of a professional. This individual should have a good track record of financial stability, a solid decision maker, versed in dealing with legal language and research, have good health and willing to take on the role of executor. You must gain consent of the individual prior to naming him/her as executor. You can choose more than one executor should the first named person be unable to fulfill the role when the time comes.
  • Your choice of executor must meet certain requirements. The person cannot have a criminal past and must be a citizen of the United States. The person must also be aged 18 or older and deemed mentally competent to complete the duties required.

In summary, select the person (professional or not) who best fits your situation and will represent you in the manner you determine. Avoid appointing anyone who is overly emotional or easily stressed as this person often has to make difficult decisions that might affect many people. Review your choice every few years to ensure your selection is still viable. Peace of mind comes when you solidly plan for the future.