Estate Planning

Six Tips for Choosing the Right Executor

The individual who organises and distributes your estate when you die is called your executor.

Your executor will carry out the instructions you have set out in your Will. You are allowed to choose whoever you would like to do this job (and it can be more than one person). Here are six important tips for choosing the right executor:

  1. Pick sensible parties only

The main quality your executor should have is duty. You merely need to be able to employ the appropriate people to assist you, address real estate issues quickly, effectively communicate with your partner and also make tough decisions when needed. Bear in mind that an executor gets paid a commission for performing their job. This means that you need to expect them to pursue his/her duties as they would for another occupation.

If you do not have any accountable friends or relatives, you can name an attorney, accountant, bank or trust company as executor.

  1. Name a minimum of one younger successor

It is not unusual to only draft one Will during your life. Wills do not perish, your property might be probated using a Will that is over 40 years old. Obviously, lots of things can change during that time. While you just need to name one executor to make your Will legitimate, you need to attempt to name a minimum of one additional younger, more healthy successor executor who is very likely to outlive you in case you merely draft one Will during your life and your first choice of executor dies before you or chooses to not serve.

This can be accomplished by explicitly naming the person ('If my spouse is unable to serve, I nominate my cousin John Smith') or by creating a mechanism in your will ('Any children of mine who are at least 45 years old in the time of my death shall serve as successor co-executors').

  1. Consider people who are financially stable

Your choice of executor should have suitable personal finances of their own. People who have a lot of debt, a lack of credit history and financial irregularities may encounter problems in securing bonding.

An executor bond is a form of insurance that insures one who carries out the Will of a deceased person. This may be one who was appointed by the deceased prior to his or her death or it may be someone appointed by the court.

  1. Location usually is not important

An executor does not have to reside close to you. They might prefer to make an in-person visit to your home to make sure your own personal property is distributed and to meet with your estate's solicitor, but many of the executor's tasks can even be achieved without coming to your place of residence. If your estate requires a service, like disposing of the furniture in your residence, it is likely your executor can hire a company to do it for them, and pay a responsible party to be present while that service is provided.

  1. Consider people who are emotionally grounded

Selecting an individual who is prepared to undertake the work, maintain an emotional balance and be prepared to apply tough love to beneficiaries is important. The process can often be longwinded and bureaucratic, so a diligent and calm individual can make the journey more straightforward if any challenges arise.

  1. Avoid drama

Some people may have friends and loved ones that are the estate's only beneficiaries, however they do not get along. This is frequently the situation where two siblings do not enjoy one another, or if one child took good care of their parent over the last several years of their life and is receiving the exact same bequest as their sibling. If just one of those parties is called as executor they may use the position to exact revenge on another person by causing delays, adding hardship or simply being mean.

In this circumstance you have two options: either name the two parties to function together to force them to work with each other (thereby averting an unequal playing field), or name neither of them (and minimising court disputes). The latter approach is usually better.