Of all the decisions you have to make when you’re putting your estate plans, together, one of the most significant may be deciding who should be your executor. This is the person who has to make certain that your estate is managed properly, in accordance with both the law and your wishes.
While a lot of people simply pick their best friend or their oldest child, that’s not always the wisest move. There are a few things you’ll need to consider before you make your selection.
Do they have good financial literacy?
Your executor has to handle a number of different financial issues to settle your estate, and that may include making decisions about your investments, pensions and property. They also have to settle your final debts, pay your final taxes and more. You want to pick someone who is comfortable handling financial matters – or smart enough to know when they need help.
Financial literacy is also important for another reason. New Hampshire requires your executor to be bonded, as a form of insurance in case they make critical mistakes with your estate, and the amount of the bond may be influenced by your executor’s credit score and financial history.
Are they organized, communicative and trustworthy?
An executor should be able to communicate effectively with family members, beneficiaries and professionals involved in the process, such as lawyers and accountants. They also need to be organized enough to manage all of the paperwork and responsibilities of the job. You don’t want to pick someone who is already struggling to manage a lot of responsibilities in their life, since the burden can become overwhelming.
Finally, of course, you want someone that both you and your family trust to be forthright and honest throughout the process. An executor who doesn’t inspire confidence in your beneficiaries or doesn’t respond promptly to requests for information or expressions of concern can be a surefire recipe for an estate dispute.
Crafting an effective estate plan is something that takes a lot of thought. Seeking legal guidance can make it easier to understand exactly what questions you need to ask yourself as you go through this process.