21 Nov Hiring an Executor
Its a lot to ask for; which is why naming the right executor is one of the most important (and challenging) elements of your estate plan. Select the right person, and your assets will be passed on smoothly and efficiently. Select the wrong person, and you could be leaving behind a legacy of financial hassles, family conflict, and legal problems for your heirs.
How do you ensure you’ve made the right choice? Consider these 12 things when reviewing candidates to fill the role.
1. Write a will
First things first: you can’t have an executor if don’t have a will. And you’d be surprised how many people don’t. If you haven’t yet written one, or if your will doesn’t make provisions for significant assets, make it a top priority to get one.
2. Age and Health
Pick someone who’s in good health and is younger than you. An executor who dies or becomes mentally infirm while administrating your estate will be of little help to your heirs. This is a particularly important issue if your estate includes instructions regarding children under the age of 18.
3. Do they want the job?
Being an executor is time consuming. And you can’t expect everyone to have the patience for the job. Better to have a candid discussion with your prospective choice and ask whether they’re OK with taking on the responsibility than simply thrust the job upon someone who feels obliged to say yes and may not serve you properly as a result.
4. Let them know your wishes
Portfolio manager, legal representative, controller, and bookkeeper whoever you pick will wear many hats. Mind-reader will not be one of them. Don’t assume he or she will intuitively understand the reasons why you’re leaving what to whom. Instead, have a conversation with your choice and make your intentions clear.
5. Relevant expertise
It’s equally important your choice be financially savvy the more complex your estate, the more important that quality is. Ideally, your choice should have considerable experience managing assets or financial affairs. Business owners, executives, accountants, bankers, financial advisors, and corporate lawyers are your best choices.
6. The closer the better
The closer your executors physical proximity to your assets, the better. Estate taxes and administration procedures are handled differently depending on the jurisdiction and those procedures could have important implications on your estate. That’s not to say U.S. and international executors are unworkable. But it will mean more work and a couple of plane trips for your prospective choice.