Selecting the Right Executor for Your Estate

Question mark with peopleWhen you look at the desired traits of an executor for your estate, look for a person who has the capacity to carry out the needed tasks, is willing to serve in this role and is very familiar with your unique situation. However, The Brainerd Dispatch’s recent article, “How to find an estate plan executor outside of your immediate family,” explains how to find an executor if you don't know an individual who meets these three criteria. What are the options for getting an executor, if there are no immediate solutions within your family or your close friends?

Many experienced estate planning lawyers say that it's typically best to find an individual to serve as the executor of your estate. If you can’t think of any readily obvious choices that you believe would be a good fit, expand your thinking. Perhaps there is an adult grandchild who might be a possibility. You might also have a good relationship with the adult child of a close friend who’d be able to carry out the tasks of executor.

Folks are typically very willing to help, if asked.  However, make sure that it’s not just anyone, but someone with some financial or legal knowledge and who is familiar with your wishes, even if they're not a member of your immediate family. They should also not be afraid to seek help from an experienced estate planning attorney.

There are some alternatives to working with an individual. If finding an individual you trust and is willing and able to serve as an executor for your estate is impossible, then you may consider engaging a third party to serve as your executor.

A financial advisor probably won’t be able to serve as the executor of your estate, due to his or her potential conflict of interest. However, you may be able to hire an experienced estate planning attorney. At the very least, he or she may have some relevant recommendations.

Whether you name an individual you know and trust or a professional third party as the executor of your estate, it's crucial to review the details of your financial and estate plans. You should also let the executor know the location of your important financial documents and information. This will make settling your estate an easier task and lighten the burden that you’ve entrusted to your executor.

Reference: Brainerd (MN) Dispatch (December 23, 2016) “How to find an estate plan executor outside of your immediate family”

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