Tips on choosing an executor for your will

On Behalf of | Nov 23, 2023 | Estate Planning

When it comes to estate planning, selecting the right executor for your will is an important decision, one that requires careful consideration. The executor, also known as a personal representative, plays a pivotal role in carrying out your wishes and handling estate administration.

Because the stakes are so high, you must choose an executor that exhibits certain characteristics.

Reliability matters

Reliability is an important trait for executors to have, so select someone who is responsible, trustworthy and organized. The executor must manage your assets, pay debts and distribute your estate as per your wishes. This requires someone with a strong sense of responsibility and the ability to stay organized in the face of complex tasks.

Understand the role

An executor should have a clear understanding of the responsibilities involved. This includes handling paperwork, communicating with beneficiaries and overseeing the probate process. While legal expertise is not necessary, a basic understanding of financial matters and attention to detail are. Look for someone who is willing to invest time in understanding and fulfilling the responsibilities associated with the role.

Location and availability

Consider the location and availability of the potential executor. It is practical to pick someone who resides in the same jurisdiction as you, as estate laws can vary. Additionally, an executor should be available to carry out the necessary tasks promptly. If the chosen individual has a busy schedule or lives far away, it could potentially lead to delays in the execution of your will.

Conflict resolution skills

Given that emotions can run high during times of grief, an executor should possess strong conflict resolution skills. Choosing someone who can handle disputes and disagreements among beneficiaries is crucial to ensure a smooth probate process. A diplomatic and level-headed approach is invaluable in navigating potential conflicts and maintaining family harmony.

Age and health considerations

While it may seem obvious, it is important to select an executor who is likely to outlive you. Opting for someone of a similar age or younger can help ensure that the designated individual is available when the time comes to execute the will. Additionally, consider the overall health of the person to avoid potential complications that could arise if the executor’s health deteriorates.

As reported by USA Today, the percentage of Americans over the age of 55 with a will in place decreased from 48% to 46% over the course of three years. Along with establishing a will, estate planners must also choose the best possible executor to ensure peace of mind.