An executor is the person who will be responsible for managing your estate after you’re gone. This includes distributing your assets according to your wishes, paying any outstanding debts and settling with Uncle Sam.
Obviously, that makes your executor a very important person. So, how do you choose the right one?
A good executor is someone that you can count on. Someone who’s both mature and dependable and who is willing to take on this type of responsibility. Quite often, it is the executor that must deal with grieving family members who are upset over the asset distribution or even just aggravated at the amount of time the estate stays in probate. In both cases, they’ll likely look to your executor for guidance, so you’ll want someone who’s willing and able to be sensitive to your family’s emotions but also stick to the instructions you’ve laid out, whether your family is in agreement or not.
Sometimes, this person may be your spouse and other times, the spouse isn’t the best option. It really just depends upon your individual circumstances. What kind of family dynamic do you have?
Are there children from a previous marriage that may not be receptive to a step-parent splitting up your estate? Are there other family members that may be expecting more than you’ve actually decided to give?
Have you disinherited someone without their knowledge?
All of these factors will play a big role in choosing the right executor. To learn more and ensure that you’ve made the right choice, consult with a qualified estate planning attorney.