Getting your affairs in order at any point in your life can prove difficult, so when it comes to getting your final affairs and end-of-life wishes down on paper, you may feel immensely intimidated. However, you should not let this feeling deter you from actually moving forward with the estate planning process because not planning could have much more impactful negative repercussions.
If you do not know where to start when it comes to considering the many decisions ahead of you, you may want to consider an important but straightforward question: who do you want to act as your executor? The executor manages the tasks associated with closing the estate, which means that this person will have many responsibilities to address.
How to pick the right person
When it comes to choosing the right person to take on this role, you may want to consider picking at least two people. This may seem counterintuitive, but in reality, because you are (hopefully) planning far in advance, you could potentially choose an executor who may not have the ability to carry out the necessary tasks when the time comes to close your estate. Therefore, having a younger successor already chosen could help prevent the possibility that your executor cannot perform and no backup is readily available.
A few people may immediately come to mind, and listing your candidates may prove helpful. It could benefit you to consider each person's character and personal qualities to determine who has the sense of responsibility and duty to effectively handle the role of executor. Your representative should also have the wherewithal to seek help with handling estate issues when needed, whether from financial advisors or legal professionals.
Have a discussion
Even if you feel that you have decided on the best person or people to handle this position, you should discuss your intentions with the candidates before simply naming them in your will. Some individuals may not feel that they have the fortitude, time or energy to take on this role, especially when they may have personal obligations of their own. Probate can take years, and if someone may feel the need to rush the process or may easily become overwhelmed, he or she may not fit the role.
Fortunately, if you plan early, you can make changes to your estate plan over time. This means that if you choose someone to act as executor and later feel that he or she may not suit the position or if he or she later wishes for you remove him or her, you can take steps to update your plan.