AND THE EXECUTOR IS
Even law-savvy individuals can make mistakes when writing their own legal documents. In many cases, people get stuck choosing the executor of their will. How do you choose an executor? Can anybody do it? What would make someone a good choice?
In most cases, being an executor is a straight-forward responsibility. Give consideration to anyone you know that is capable of making financial decisions that you trust. Consider the relationship of the executor to your surviving family and heirs; this can help things move smoothly in the future when you know both parties are compatible. Seeing as how your executor is in charge of managing all your money, debts, and assets, it is of great importance that you choose someone you trust. While it is generally not recommended to name co-executors, it is a good idea to choose alternate executors in the event that your original choice passes away before you.
If you have a large estate, and you are worried that your family may not be qualified, you may want to name a third-party as executor. While a fee is usually involved, it is paid out of the estate. Naming an objective third party may help minimize any negatives that would come from naming a family member, such as favoritism.
When possible, choose an executor who lives near you. Appearances in court, issues with property, and even more basic tasks like checking the mail can all be simplified by being local. Make sure your executor understands and accepts the obligation, and help them by making sure they know where you keep your important documents (and read here for further information on preparing your estate and legal documents).
The key to a smooth transition of assets and disbursement of the estate is to have the correct person as executor. Your thoughtful consideration now will ease the stress and reduce confusion for your family and heirs.