“No matter how old you are, it’s never too early to think about what you would like to do, if something were to happen to you. That can mean writing a will, properly planning your account beneficiaries and choosing an executor of your estate.”
Chances are slim that your favorite topic of conversation with loved ones centers on what you’d like them to do if something unexpected happened to you and you were unable to speak for yourself. These are some of the most important conversations you’ll have, according to the article “Your Money: Qualities of an appropriate estate plan executor” from the Twin Cities Pioneer Press. One of those conversations needs to concern naming your executor (also known as a personal representative).
Selecting an executor is not a decision to make in a hurry. This is an important decision with far-reaching consequences for your family and should be made thoughtfully.
Your estate planning attorney has walked down this road with many clients before. A conversation to explore possible individuals who would be able to serve in this role could be helpful in clarifying your understanding of the responsibilities and the best person to ask.
Most of the tasks of the executor relate to distributing your assets after you are gone. Consider who you would trust, right now, to handle all your money and property, because that person is the one who will be overseeing everything. They’ll be serving as your legal representative, making decisions as you have directed in your will. The right choice will give you the confidence that your final wishes will be followed.
One fact to keep in mind: the person you select as your executor will need to outlive you. That means they ought not be a parent or older sibling. Most people name their spouse, a child, niece or nephew or a trusted friend, preferably one who is a little younger than you.
Your executor will need to have an intimate knowledge of your life, your goals and your relationships. Someone who is a dear friend to you, one you trust unquestionably, is a good candidate. They should be someone who knows about any debts, financial or otherwise, that you’d like to address in your estate plan.
Just because you want someone to serve as your executor, does not mean that they want to take on this role and the responsibilities. Depending on the size of your estate, or your family’s dynamics, this could be a very time-consuming effort. Have an in-depth discussion to make sure they understand the responsibilities, if they choose to accept the role.
Keep in mind that the person you select may have to stand up to various family members. If your family has some tough dynamics or headstrong personalities, you’ll need someone who will be comfortable with unpopular decisions. Some individuals relish this kind of a challenge, while others shrink easily. Keep that in mind when making your selection.
Reference: Twin Cities Pioneer Press (Oct. 6, 2018) “Your Money: Qualities of an appropriate estate plan executor: