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How to choose an executor for your will

The executor of your will is the person you select to manage your final affairs after you pass away. This role is an honor, but it is also more than that.

The person you choose as the executor of your will must recognize that he or she will be required to complete numerous tasks. Each task may have its own deadline and legal complexity, and if the executor does not complete something correctly, he or she could be personally liable. Serving as an executor can be a big responsibility, which is why it is so important that you are careful when you choose the executor of your will.

Consider who you trust to complete the tasks

Your executor’s duties can include:

  • Finding your assets
  • Contacting the people named in your will
  • Using your estate to pay your debts
  • Filing your final income tax return
  • Distributing your assets according to your will

Of course, you will want to select someone who will be comfortable performing these duties. The person you choose does not need to be an expert in any particular field, but he or she should have good common sense. If needed, the executor can hire professionals in various fields to help him or her fulfill the duties.

Do not overlook logistical concerns

It may also be practical to consider how close your possible executors live to the majority of your assets, and how much time each candidate could dedicate to the task if selected. Completing all of the required tasks can be time-consuming. If the executor lives far away or leads a busy lifestyle, it may be difficult for him or her to complete all of the necessary tasks on time.

Age is another important factor to consider when choosing your executor. You want to select someone who will likely outlive you. However, you also want this person to be mature enough to responsibly handle a variety of tasks.

Beware of family dynamics

Many people choose a family member, such as a spouse, adult child or sibling, to serve as executor. A family member can be a great choice. However, it is important to not overlook your family’s dynamics.

For example, choosing one child over other children can cause those who were not picked to have hard feelings. In extreme cases, this can cause a rift in a family. You should not feel pressured to select someone you do not want to select, but you may consider how your choice could affect or be affected by your family’s dynamics.

Choosing the executor if your will can be a challenge because there are so many factors to consider. However, by carefully considering the duties, logistics and family dynamics, you can to make sure the person you select is the best choice for the position.

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