Business Succession, Estate Planning, Legacy, Probate, Real Estate, Trusts, Wealth, Will Contests, Wills

Choosing the Most Important Person in Your Estate Plan: The Executor

So you set up your estate plan.

Congrats; you’re already ahead of 2/3rds of the nation. Most people don’t do a thing.

But, one of the most important parts of your estate plan is going to be who is in charge of your assets once you pass away.

This could be the executor of your estate if you have a will or the trustee of your trust if you have a trust.

Either way, how do you determine who should serve in that role?

And, when it comes to your trust, trust me (pun intended), you need to pick the right person.

Too often I have seen executors/trustees completely drop the ball and cost the deceased’s estate tens of thousands of dollars that should have gone to kids and grandchildren.

The first attribute you should look for in executors/trustees is the ability to communicate.

Too many times I have seen complete failures to communicate cause problems for everyone.

If your executors/trustees can’t send periodic emails to those involved in the division of the estate, and if your executors/trustees can’t meet deadlines because they failed to give information to the attorney, you’re going to have a rough time.

And, if your executors/trustees cannot be honest and forthcoming with setting up expectations with those involved, everyone is going to get upset very quickly.

The second attribute to look for in executors/trustees is the ability to work in an organized manner efficiently.

Too many times shoddy record keeping has detrimentally harmed the estate. Too many times a document needed a signature or sent to the third party who needed it, and the executors/trustees drop the ball.

If your executors/trustees cannot handle themselves in their own personal and professional matters in an efficient and organized manner, how are they all of a sudden going to do everything different for you and your estate with no one babysitting them to tell them what to do?

Lastly, and certainly least importantly, it would be ideal if the executors/trustees understood your family situation.

It’s not required, but knowing how to communicate and work within the family’s dynamics would be a helpful tool.

But just because your executors/trustees know how to deal with Aunt Bertha doesn’t mean they are the best for the job. Be sure communication and organization comes first before anything else.

If you struggle to think of anyone like that in your life who is readily available to serve as executors/trustees, there are other options out there. In fact, you can even hire professional companies to serve as executors/trustees or other professionals like accountants, attorneys, and financial planners to serve as your executors/trustees.

No pressure, but pick wisely! The role of executor/trustee is probably one of the most important parts of your estate plan.