When creating your will, one of the most important decisions you will face is selecting an executor. The executor plays a pivotal role in managing your estate, so you must choose someone who is up to the task.
Keeping in mind a few key characteristics can help you make the best possible decision for your estate and loved ones.
Given the financial nature of the executor’s role, it is wise to select someone with a good understanding of financial matters. While the person does not need to be a financial expert, basic financial literacy is essential for managing your assets, paying debts and distributing the remaining estate according to your instructions.
Availability and longevity
Selecting an executor who is likely to be available for an extended period is also important. The probate process can take time, and having an executor who is willing and able to see it through to completion is crucial. Consider someone in good health and with a lifestyle that allows them to dedicate the necessary time and effort.
Impartiality and fairness
An executor should be impartial and fair in their decision-making. This means setting aside personal feelings and treating all beneficiaries equally. If there is a risk of bias, conflicts or favoritism, it could lead to disputes among heirs. Choosing someone who can navigate potential conflicts and maintain fairness is key to a smooth execution of your will.
Clear and effective communication is vital for an executor. They will need to communicate with family members, beneficiaries and potentially other professionals involved in the process. Opt for someone who can articulate information clearly and navigate conversations diplomatically to avoid misunderstandings or disputes.
As reported by Gallup, only 46% of Americans had a will in place in 2021. While the creation of this estate planning document is important, selecting the right individual to serve as your executor is equally so.