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choosing the right executorChoosing the right executor to handle your estate is a prerequisite to selecting a solid strategy for your estate plan. In the article Use Common Sense to Select a Good Strategy for Your Estate Plan, naming an executor is part of the preparation for selecting a solid strategy. Therefore, when choosing your executor, ensure the person has the right traits to administer your estate plan.

The Traits to Look for When Choosing the Right Executor

When choosing the right executor you can name any adult without a felony conviction. However, even though the restrictions are few, your executor should possess the necessary traits to administer your estate. Accordingly, the person you select as your executor should have the following traits:

  1. Trustworthy and reliable.
  2. Works well with people and possesses patience.
  3. Needs to be well organized, should be thorough, and has common sense.
  4. Committed to accomplishing the task.
  5. Flexible with time if the estate uses the formal probate process. An estate going through formal probate may take six months to a year depending on state law.
  6. The person should live in the same state as the estate location or as close as possible. Unfortunately, some states have laws and restrictions on out-of-state executors.

Along with personal traits of the executor, there are additional considerations in choosing the right executor. The additional considerations are as follows:

  • If you are preparing a living trust, the trustee should also be the executor of the backup will.
  • Consider naming only one executor. Although you can name multiple executors, one is best. If family harmony becomes a problem, then naming more than one may be necessary to keep the peace. 
  • Always name a person as an executor. If you name a bank or other financial institutions, they will charge you fees for every little task they complete. Instead, name a person to handle the estate or to oversee the estate settlement process.

Although the right qualities for an executor seem numerous, in most common estates, not every trait will be necessary. As long as the executor you choose is trustworthy, has organization skills, and has common sense, the executor will do the job effectively.

Was this article helpful? Can you think of any additional traits a prospective executor should have? Share your comments or questions in the comment area below.