When preparing estate plans, it is important to think carefully about who will be named as the executor. This person will be responsible for managing affairs after death, so picking the right person is a must. For some, the decision is easy, but many California adults struggle with this decision, especially when it comes to picking someone who will take care of the estate after a spouse has passed away. Here are some questions to ask oneself when selecting someone for this important role:
- Are they considered trustworthy? Planners should pick someone who they know to be honest and able to follow the rules. They should also make sure the beneficiaries of the estate are trust this person, as suspicions of the executor can be a major sore point in estate administration.
- Are they diplomatic and able to remain objective? Estate administration can be emotional and beneficiaries will want to know that the executor will not act against their best interests. So, for example, a remarried person with children from both partnerships may not want to pick any of their children in case they might seem biased to the other family.
- Do they have the necessary skills and experience? For simple wills, just picking someone who can do math and manage accounts may suffice. But, some estates may require a more refined skillset — for example, if dividing a business is involved, it might be wise to consider an executor with corporate experience.
- Do they live nearby? When the executor is in a different state, or even country, things can become legally complicated. The cost of travel to care for estate matters is also something worth avoiding. A local executor is usually the best choice for this reason.
An executor can be a family member, friend or even a professional. Professional executors can be a good choice for those who do not have an obvious choice for an impartial, convenient, skilled person in their inner circle. For help making this decision and information on an executor’s role, it can help to speak to a California attorney.