It isn’t easy to think about what happens after you die. It can be uncomfortable to imagine the grief of your loved ones or unpleasant to think about the assets you have spent your life acquiring going up for sale as part of your estate. However, in-depth consideration of what happens to your property when you die is necessary if you hope to leave any kind of meaningful legacy.
Much of your planning will likely focus on how to protect your loved ones and your property, but deciding who should receive which assets is only part of the process. One of the most important considerations will be selecting who serves as executor or fiduciary for your estate. The person charged with estate administration will ultimately either uphold your legacy or undermine it.
How do you make sure that you choose the right person for this important responsibility?
Consider the personal histories of the people that you trust
One of the most important factors in whether someone will properly manage your estate is whether they are trustworthy and responsible.
There could be people in your life that you love with personal or behavioral issues that make them a bad choice for this role. Someone with a history of drug addiction, for example, might make selfish decisions when given access to someone else’s resources.
Choosing someone capable of following your instructions, responsible enough to fulfill their obligations and organized enough to manage the process of estate administration may quickly limit your pool of candidates to just one or two people.
Consider age and health factors as well
Your big brother might be responsible and trustworthy, but if he is 10 years older than you, naming him as the person to manage your estate likely isn’t the best choice. You want someone who is likely to survive you. Looking at someone’s health and age could potentially disqualify them even if they meet your other criteria.
Make sure they agree to take on the responsibility
Serving as an executor requires months of hard work. The person responsible for your estate will likely have to take time off of work to go to court and physically distribute your assets to others, which can be a lot of work. Talking with the candidates before you make your decision and naming an alternate could be good decisions when you have a shortlist of potential executors.
Thinking carefully about your estate plan and your family will make it easier for you to choose the right person to carry out your last wishes.