By Team Tomorrow
Published July 29, 2019
You’re working on your last will and testament, congratulations! You’ve decided who’s going to get the family parrot and who will inherit your stamp collection. There’s a plan for all of your assets and your children.
The next question, though, is who should be in charge of ensuring that your estate is distributed according to your will. That person is called an executor—and although choosing an executor is often an afterthought, it’s actually an important consideration that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
From a legal perspective, an executor can be any adult. Most people choose a close family member, like a spouse, sibling or adult children. However, we all know that not all adults are equally capable of “adulting.” Here are some essential qualities that an executor should have:
There’s some other practical considerations, too. It’s better to choose an executor who lives locally, because he or she will be responsible for managing property and/or making court appearances. My sister and I are both equally capable of managing an estate, but my mom choose me as her executor—a decision that both my sister and I would agree was wise, since I lived in my mom’s house and my sister lived across the country. In addition, handling an estate can take time. If you’re trying to decide between two people, choose the one who has less demands on his or her time.
Whatever you decide, make sure you include an executor in your will, so that your heirs and others know who has the right to manage accounts on your behalf. As the executor of my mom’s estate, I’ve had to present a copy of her will on countless occasions to close accounts, get information or pay bills. If the will didn’t include an executor provision, managing all of those things would be substantially more difficult.
Though it can often be a difficult choice, choosing an executor can give you peace of mind that a family member or friend will have everything handled.
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