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Tips for choosing an executor

When you make a will, you have numerous important decisions to make, and not just about what to do with your assets. You will also determine who will execute the terms of your will.

Some people are inclined to name the person closest to them. However, there are numerous factors you should consider before appointing someone as the executor of your estate.

Traits to look for

Executing an estate is a major responsibility. As this article notes, an executor may need to:

  • Navigate the legal process to probate the will
  • Make decisions based on your wishes
  • Oversee complicated assets
  • Pay taxes and other expenses
  • Manage relationships among beneficiaries
  • Communicate with banks, family members, government agencies and others

Considering all that an executor may need to do in his or her role, there are some traits of an executor that can be especially beneficial.

An executor should be someone you trust to act in your best interests. This person should know you and what you want. He or she should also be capable of setting aside personal feelings if they conflict with your wishes.

The person you name should also be some who is responsible and organized. There can be a lot of paperwork and correspondence involved in executing a will, and oversights by an executor can create delays or disputes. That said, familiarity with legal or financial environments can also be a valuable trait.

A good executor takes the role seriously and carries out the duties honestly and without taking advantage of his or her authority.

Other things to consider include where the person lives and whether he or she is willing to serve in that capacity.

Finding the right person

Before you name someone as your executor, consider whether he or she has these traits. You are not required to name your parent, spouse or sibling if you do not want to. You could appoint a professional, a friend or someone else who may be a good fit.

It is crucial to make this decision thoughtfully. The person you choose will have a considerable impact on the experience others have after your passing. If he or she is careless, irresponsible or otherwise ineffective, beneficiaries could wind up in legal disputes, which could adversely affect your loved ones and your legacy.

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