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How to choose the best executor for your estate

There are plenty of important decisions to be made when planning your estate: How to divide your assets, whether to make charitable donations and what kind of funeral you would like. One other important factor to consider is who will be the executor of your estate.

An executor is someone who handles important duties related to a deceased person's estate. Selecting the right executor to care for your estate is a big undertaking. After all, this person will have a huge amount of authority over your estate. When considering who to name as your executor, you should consider a few of these factors.

The duties of an executor

Whoever you choose as your will's executor will have several obligations to fulfill. Make sure your executor is capable of completing these tasks:

  • Accurately distributing your assets
  • Caring for your assets or real estate until the estate is settled
  • Having the estate pay outstanding bills
  • Filing your taxes for the previous year
  • Appearing in court on behalf of your estate
  • Working with your attorneys
  • Communicating with family members and beneficiaries

Necessary qualities

There are a few key qualities that make for an effective executor. These include:

  • Honesty
  • Integrity
  • Trustworthiness
  • Fiscal responsibility
  • Organization
  • Communication

Exclusions

There are a few limitations to who can be an executor. Generally, executors cannot be:

  • Minors who are under the age of 18
  • Convicted felons
  • Out-of-state residents who are not also beneficiaries (in some states)

Possible options

Aside from those restrictions, you may select pretty much anyone in your life to be your executor. Many people choose an immediate family member like a spouse, child, parent or sibling. However, family dynamics can be complicated. If you feel that naming one particular family member as your executor would aggravate the family dynamic, you may also designate an attorney as executor or allow the court to name one after you pass away.

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