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How to choose an executor for your estate

If you've already created a will and trust, you are ahead of the game. One of the most important parts of planning for your estate is choosing an executor that you can trust to handle your affairs and assets after you are gone. This can be a time-consuming job for someone, so you want to make sure you have the right person with the patience and determination to see it through.

What does an executor do?

The main job of an executor is to ensure that your last wishes are granted regarding your possessions and property. An executor is required to be honest and diligent in fulfilling your wishes, therefore it should always be someone you trust. He or she may oversee the placement of possessions and property, fulfill specific tasks outlined by you and your attorney, continue necessary payments or pay final income taxes. There are quite a few important jobs that are given to an executor, so who you choose is crucial to ensuring your wishes are carried out.

How do I choose an executor?

Choosing an executor can be one of the most difficult decisions you face when it comes to planning your estate and will. The following tips can help you narrow down the field and pick the right person for the job.

  • Consider the health and age of the person, and whether you believe he or she will be around to execute your will after you are gone.
  • Consider a corporate trustee. Although you will pay more, you can be confident your wishes are granted specifically to your instructions.
  • Consider using a team of executors and trustees if your estate is particularly large, although you should be careful about who you pair together because arguing about money is common between family members.
  • Use common sense and choose someone with a good business sense and solid judgment.


Check back every few years with your chosen executor because what works today may not work tomorrow, and you may need to change your will.
Without an executor, your estate may fall into the hands of the wrong people or cause disagreements and tension between members of your family regarding who deserves what out of your estate. Establishing a last will and testament and choosing the right executor can not only ensure your assets are divided appropriately, but also that your family is protected from arguing and fighting.

Planning for your future

If you don't have a will, you may benefit from speaking to an attorney about getting one. If you do, an attorney may be able to help you determine exactly who the right executor for your estate is.

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