A key decision when preparing a will is the designation of an executor. The executor is the person you select to oversee the provisions of your will after you pass. This is the person designated to make sure the directives you place in a will are carried out. Because of the importance of this position, there are a number of factors you must consider when selecting an executor for your will.
A Person You Trust
A fundamental consideration is selecting someone you trust to serve in this capacity. You need to select a person that you are confident will carry out your wishes and not act in a manner inconsistent with them.
Open Discussion with a Possible Executor
You must be up front and discuss your desire to select a particular person as your executor. A good number of people fail to take this step. By not engaging in open discussion, a person may not know of your decision to appoint him or her to serve in this capacity. This type of obligation is not something you want to surprise someone with after you die.
Review Prospect’s Background
Ultimately, whoever you nominate in a will to be your executor must be approved by the court. The court does give significant deference to the individual nominated in a will. However, there can be instances in which a court may not approve your nominee. For example, if you select someone that has a rather significant criminal history involving fraud, deceit or theft, a court may be highly reluctant to approve that individual to serve as your estate’s executor.
Family Member Versus Professional
A common strategy is to appoint a close family member to serve as the executor of an estate. That certainly is one of your options – but it is not the only course you can take.
An attorney can be designated as your executor. Designated a legal professional to serve in this capacity can be a wise course if an estate is particularly complex. Legal assistance will be needed anyway; thus, designated an attorney as the executor makes sense in such a situation.
If for some reason the person you designate as executor is not able to serve in this role, you need to designate a backup in your will. By designating a successor executor, you place yourself in the best position to ensure your interests will be protected after you pass away.