Perhaps you are preparing to draft your last will and testament. You will need to name an executor and your first thought is your spouse, but he or she may not be well-suited to the job.
What qualities should you look for in the person who will administer your estate?
Common sense versus expertise
Your spouse may not want to take on the job of executor for a variety of reasons. For example, he or she might find the estate too large and the task of settling it too complicated. You may, therefore, turn to another relative or a long-time friend who has a good business background. Keep in mind that common sense is just as important as business savvy.
The question of age
A sibling might be a good choice, but not one who is older than you are. Remember that the person you choose must be around to act after your demise. You should select someone who is younger, in good health and likely to survive you.
Comfortable with paperwork
There is considerable paperwork connected with the administration of an estate. Among the first tasks for your executor will be to provide copies of the death certificate to notify your bank, the Social Security Administration, life insurance agencies and others. More paperwork will follow. For example, he or she will pay your debts and submit your final tax returns before attending to the distribution of the remaining assets to heirs per the instructions in your will.
Willing to seek help
In addition to business expertise and common sense, the executor you choose should know when to ask for help in the administration of your estate. He or she will likely have questions that are best answered by professionals, such as a business appraiser, an accountant or a certified financial planner. Finally, your executor should rely on the assistance of an attorney to make sure there will be no legal missteps in the process of settling your estate.