There are numerous estate planning instruments that all carry out various tasks. One of the most fundamental aspects of any estate plan is the will. This is a document that provides instructions for how your assets are to be divided upon your death.
As well as having the document, you need to nominate an individual to carry out the instructions as requested. This person is called the executor. Outlined below are a few important things to consider when choosing an executor.
Can you trust them?
Being able to trust your executor is essential, as they will be overseeing the distribution of your assets to those who you love. Trust is only one factor though, and there are other things to consider.
Are they eligible?
An executor cannot apply for probate until they are 18 years old. Thus, it is generally beneficial to nominate someone who is at least this age but not much older than you. Additionally, they must have the mental capacity to understand their duties. They also need to be financially stable, so that they can be bonded, if necessary.
What about family members?
You can nominate a family member to be your executor, and many people do choose this route. This way, you know that you have someone who you can trust and who intimately understands your wishes.
Can they handle the responsibility?
Executors must apply for probate, see the process through, pay tax obligations and notify relevant parties of the death. All of this is a huge responsibility. You’re not limited to choosing a family member if you feel that it is too much for them. There are impartial executors who do it for a living, and they owe you a fiduciary duty. In other words, they cannot act out with your instructions or profit from the estate. Remember, you are not limited to choosing one executor. You can have backups in case your first choice falls through.
Estate planning can feel complex without assistance. That’s why it’s so important to seek legal guidance on the issue.