When you sit down to create an estate plan or write out your last will, you will have to make a number of difficult decisions. Deciding who should get what from your estate is only the first of many difficult questions you need to answer when creating a last will or estate plan.
You may also need to name a guardian for your children. Additionally, you have to pick someone that you truly trust to serve as executor or administrator for your estate. If you use a trust as the primary instrument for conveyance of assets, the individual taking care of it will then be a trustee.
Regardless of what the actual title is, the executor carrying out your last wishes needs to be someone competent enough to manage complex financial transactions and trustworthy enough to have full control over your legacy.
You want somebody responsible, trustworthy and younger than you
Some people could name their spouse as their executor. Not only does choosing your spouse as executor create extra work for your dearest loved one during an already difficult time, but it also put you at risk for having your spouse be too old or too ill to handle those responsibilities when the time comes.
Selecting someone at least a generation younger than you as executor or naming them as the successor to an older executor is typically advisable, as that ensures that they will still be capable of performing all of the duties involved with estate administration.
Trustworthiness is also incredibly important. Someone could easily try to profit by taking assets from your estate or diminish the legacy you leave behind by engaging in questionable practices, such as selling your home for a fraction of the price that it should actually command.
Make sure the person you choose is willing to take on the responsibility
Not everyone that you asked to handle estate administration has the capability or time to do so. For example, while you might trust in someone else’s ability, they may worry about their own lack of organization or free time, and decline to accept the responsibility.
Discussing your wishes with someone before you add them to your last will is of the utmost importance. If the person named declines the job or simply can’t perform it, that can greatly increase the length of time it takes to settle your estate.