One of the most important roles you have to fill when creating your estate plan is the executor. According to CNBC, the executor has a lot of control and responsibility. The executor files your will, pays off your debts, distributes your assets and closes your accounts.
When choosing your executor, you have to consider several factors beyond whether you trust the person.
Does your executor have time?
No matter how much you trust someone, the person needs to be organized and capable of juggling responsibilities. It can take up to 16 months for an executor to settle an estate. Even estates worth only $10,000 or less may take up to 11 months to settle. You need someone who can balance work, family and the role of an executor. Some people choose professionals in finance to be an executor because of their experience with the responsibilities of the position.
Do you have backup choices?
Many people choose their significant other or spouse as the executor. However, you need to ensure you have a backup person in case something happens to both parties. Whenever you choose an executor, you should have other choices in mind. An executor may decide later that he or she does not want the responsibility. If your executor goes through a significant life change, he or she may no longer have the ability to take on the role. In this case, there should be others you would depend on.
Make sure to follow up with your executor choice every three to five years. You do not want the wrong choice if something happens to you.