When you’re crafting your estate plan, you eventually need to settle on someone as your executor. An executor is responsible for managing your estate, paying off your debts, filing your final taxes and distributing your remaining property to your heirs (among other things).
In other words, being an executor is a big job, and not everybody is suited to handle it. That means you need to choose carefully. Here are some tips that may help.
Consider the complexity of your estate
If your estate is particularly complex, with multiple properties or a large investment portfolio, it may be best to choose an executor with financial or legal experience. At a minimum, you want to pick someone who knows when they need to hire someone for help.
Choose someone you trust
Your executor will have access to your assets and will be responsible for ensuring that your wishes are carried out. It is essential to choose someone you deeply trust, which is why many people choose family members or close friends – although professional executors do exist.
Check for conflicts of interest
Ensure that your executor has no conflicts of interest that could compromise their ability to carry out your wishes. For example, naming your oldest child as your executor could be complicated if they lack a good relationship with their siblings. They could be accused of “self-dealing” and taking advantage of the position.
Consider the age and health of your executor
Choosing an executor who is significantly older than you or has known health issues may not be the best decision. It is essential to consider whether your executor will be able to fulfill their duties when the time comes.
Review your choice regularly
Your choice of executor should not be set in stone. It is essential to review your decision (and your estate plans) regularly and make changes if necessary. For example, if your chosen executor has moved away, passed away, or is no longer capable of carrying out their duties, you should name a new executor.
These are just a few of the tips that can help you to choose an executor with confidence. You can also seek legal guidance at any time for more personalized insight.