Creating a will is one of the most important estate planning tasks you can accomplish. Not only does this tool allow you to decide how to distribute your assets among your beneficiaries, but you also get to choose an individual to manage your estate after you die.
Choosing the right person to be the executor of your will is paramount to ensuring probate goes as smoothly as possible. Here are a few guidelines to help you designate the right person for this role.
Choose someone who is responsible
There are few qualities as important as responsibility when it comes to executors. This person should have the abilities to communicate effectively, address stressful situations and make hard decisions. Ideally, the executor should also have good financial standing. If you do not have a friend or family member who meets these criteria, you may consider naming a bank, accountant or attorney.
Name someone young enough (or a younger successor)
It is vital to take the age and health of a potential executor into account. You want this person to be alive and have the mental capacity to carry out these duties. If your first pick is close to your age or older, be sure to at least name a younger successor executor. You may even want to choose several successors just to be safe.
Avoid picking someone who will cause drama
You may love and look up to a certain friend or family member, but if there is a lot of family drama surrounding this person, you may want to re-consider picking him or her. When there is significant discord or even outright hatred for an executor, it can lead to family rifts and probate litigation. It is best to name someone who is likable and has the respect of your beneficiaries.
Serving as an executor can be hard, especially when dealing with emotional heirs and complex paperwork. Make sure your pick is someone who is patient enough to put the time and effort into this role.