Of all the issues to consider when making your estate plan, naming your executor is certainly one of the most crucial. That individual will be expected to make your final wishes happen according to the exact specifications you left.
What does an executor typically do? They will have duties such as:
- Poring over your estate and other financial documents
- Keeping accurate records
- Filing your last income tax returns
- Making sure that your assets go to your heirs
- Dealing with legal and financial details.
- Settling things with your creditors
In short, this person’s importance cannot be overestimated. That is the reason you should think extremely hard about who you choose. Picking someone just because they are your favorite buddy, for example, may not work out. An executor needs to be able to handle the entire task successfully.
The person you name has to be willing to shoulder a lot of key responsibilities. They have to have the diligence and perseverance to do what is required, even if they lack legal and financial expertise. It’s not a quick project to finalize, either. One expert states that “…[E]states worth more than $5 million take the longest to wrap up: 42 months (3.5 years).”
Important factors to consider when choosing an executor
Years could pass between when you compose your will and your death. Just to be safe, consider having someone on the young side as a backup. Your primary choice might become incapacitated or pass away.
Whoever you name as executor should be meticulous and adept at understanding and managing details. They should also be local to your area since the work can be time-consuming. You should also make sure that they are prepared for the job. Talk to the person about your desire to have them as your executor. If they are inundated with other major ongoing obligations such as child-rearing or caring for elderly parents, they might not be available to take it on.
This is something you definitely need to get right. It’s way too important to leave anything to chance. You will most likely have dozens of questions that a knowledgeable source can address.