Choosing an executor for your will

Procrastinating on planning for your end-of-life needs is only natural. It’s an uncomfortable topic to talk about and not something most people want to stare in the face. However, planning ahead by creating an estate plan is an important element of caring for your family. Having a will can alleviate potential stress for your surviving family members and gives you peace of mind in knowing you’ve stated your wishes.

One of the elements involved in creating a will is assigning an executor. The executor is the person or third party you designate to administer your will after you pass. The job and responsibilities of an executor are considerable, so you’ll want to choose the person or company wisely.

The job of an executor

An executor will handle the following responsibilities:

  • Inventory, appraise and secure the assets of the deceased.
  • Distribute the assets according to what’s outlined in the will.
  • Pay off debts left by the deceased.
  • Handle and satisfy tax concerns.
  • Communicate clearly with the beneficiaries throughout the process of settling the estate.

Who to choose

Typically, an executor is a trusted and responsible family member. However, if you choose a friend instead, select someone healthy and younger–someone who will be around after you die. If you are opting to use a third party, like a bank or trust company as your executor, be sure to research the fees that may be charged and plan accordingly.

With so many responsibilities as part of the job, keep the following in mind when choosing your executor. You want someone who:

  • Will give careful thought to the process, while also being organized and methodical.
  • Can recognize being overwhelmed and be willing to ask for professional help as needed.
  • Is close by or willing and able to travel to your location.

Once you’ve decided on your executor, talk over your choice with the person you select to get their approval, discuss your wishes and notify them about the location of the documents. Legal counsel can also point you in the right direction and help you to establish the documents you need.

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