When an estate planner begins the estate planning process, one of the first decisions they will need to make is to select an executor for their estate. Because it is a big decision, and the executor will play an important role in the administration of the estate planner’s estate, it is helpful for them to know what to consider when selecting an executor.
Qualities to consider
- Expertise is not required: the executor does not need to be an expert but does need to know when they should engage an expert.
- Longevity: the executor needs to be available so the estate planner should consider the age and health of the executor they select. Additionally, the estate planner can select a successor executor.
- Know when to use a corporate trustee: It is helpful to know when a corporate trustee might be the best option but may be more impersonal so is a factor the estate planner should consider.
- Decide when a team is a good idea: In some situations the estate planner may want to name co-executors or co-trustees. In others, it may create conflict and may not be the best idea if family members, for instance, are named who cannot get along.
- Review the decision: It is always a good idea to routinely review and update and estate plan and this can include updating an executor selection if it no longer seems appropriate.
Estate planning is important for a variety of reasons and one is that it allows the estate planner to decide who will manage their estate. Knowing how to make that decision, and what to base it on, can be helpful to estate planners.