How to Choose An Executor For Your Will

How to Choose An Executor For Your Will

Choosing an executor for your will can be a very difficult decision. An executor is someone who notifies beneficiaries of the will and works with lawyers and other professionals to distribute your property and take care of any other issues in the event of your death. You want to make sure that whoever you choose will ensure that your wishes are carried out, and will be able to do so in a respectful manner. There are likely many people in your life who you would consider for this position, but here’s how to narrow it down and make a final decision.

Who will stay calm in the face of tragedy?
This is hugely important. You want to make sure that whoever you pick is someone who handles stress well and will be able to carry out their duties even during a difficult time. You likely can rule out certain family members and friends with this consideration, as many people have more emotional tendencies. If you have observed someone close to you stay calm in a similar situation, that is likely a good indicator that they would make a good executor.

Do they have overwhelming self-interests in my will?
You should avoid choosing someone who has a huge stake in your will, as this could complicate their role as executor. The person you choose as executor should ideally not be listed in your will at all, or only listed minimally. Usually, this results in a friend or extended family member becoming the executor, as they are still close enough to you to be up for the job, but will not have large self-interests that could complicate things. However, this rule is not a be-all, end-all; if the right person is named in your will and you trust them, you can still use them.

Are they organized, timely, and responsible?
These are all character traits that are highly important to consider when choosing an executor. There are many duties involved with carrying out a will, so you’ll want to make sure that whoever you choose will be able to handle everything. It is particularly important that that person be able to complete things in a timely manner, so the distribution doesn’t go on for longer than necessary.

Are they in good health?
Most people don’t plan on having anyone execute their will for years, even decades to come. During that time, you never know what could happen. That’s why you want to make sure you pick someone that is in good health, and ideally is also younger than you as well. You want to make sure that your chances are high that they will still be around and well enough to carry out the will, even decades from now. Younger, responsible family members are often good choices in this situation.

Are they willing to be your executor?
When naming an executor, you’ll want to discuss the decision with them and make sure they are prepared and willing to do it. Ideally, you should have a meeting where you sit down and discuss the details of your estate and your finances so that they are completely prepared, no matter what happens. You should also review all of their duties with them, and provide them with contact information of who to call if they need help with anything. This way, your executor will be completely prepared for whatever happens.

If you don’t have someone in your life who you trust to serve as an executor, you can also name a third party executor (usually a bank). However, third party executors charge fees that will come out of your estate.

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