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What should I consider when picking an executor?

On Behalf of | Nov 2, 2020 | Estate Planning |

You may have finished writing down everything that you want your heirs to inherit in your will, but you have not wrapped up your will until you name someone to be your executor. Your executor will have the task of closing out your estate and making sure your heirs receive whatever you have promised. Now you need to think of who would make a good executor.

Choosing your executor is an important decision, but it does not have to be difficult. While families will have varying needs for their executors, there are some general guidelines that any executor should meet. Kiplinger describes what to consider as you make your decision.

An executor who outlives you

Remember that whoever you name as your executor should outlive you. If you should compose a will and then live for a long time, it is possible your chosen candidate might become too old and infirm to act as your executor, or even die before you do. If a lot of time passes, you may need to revise your executor choice, or you can name a younger person to act as a successor candidate. You might name one of your children if they have reached adult age by this time.

A responsible person

You do not have to select someone with a legal or financial background to be your executor. A responsible individual who knows how to get advice from the right people, make tough decisions, take care of your estate in a timely manner, and will communicate well with your heirs should make a good choice as executor. If no one in your family is up to the task, you might ask a professional like an accountant or an attorney to be your executor instead.

Someone free from drama

While picking a child as your executor might seem like the perfect choice, consider what your other children may think of the idea. Sometimes family dynamics can cause problems. If your other children resent your executor candidate, it could cause a legal battle. Sometimes a child who becomes an executor misuses the power against fellow siblings. Some families name someone outside of the family as an executor to avoid this kind of drama.

An executor who can meet qualifications

State law and courts may disqualify someone from serving as executor, so it may help to know whether your executor candidate can actually serve. A court might disqualify someone who is not a U.S. citizen, a person convicted of a felony, or an individual who is a minor. Take some time to be sure that a court will not have a problem with your executor candidate.