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Recommendations to keep in mind when choosing your executor

Like so many other people, you might think about naming your spouse as the executor of your estate, but that may not be the best decision.

For one thing, your spouse may not want to serve in this capacity. For another, he or she may predecease you. Appointing an executor is not something you want to do in haste. Here are a few recommendations to help you make the right choice.


When you consider a list of potential candidates, choose someone as your executor who will be around to act. The ideal person would be your age or younger, in good health and agreeable to taking on this job. Remember that the executor’s duties will be complex if you have a sizeable estate. Naming a backup is just as important as selecting the primary executor in case your first pick should fall ill, pass away or be unable to serve for some other reason, such as moving to the other side of the country.


Choose someone in whom you have absolute faith. This person will have the charge of protecting your assets and making distributions to your beneficiaries according to your wishes. There will be considerable paperwork involved in managing your estate. There will be debts to pay, tax returns to file and much more if you have various investments and real property. It would be helpful if your executor has a good head for business as well as common sense.


One of the best gifts you can give your executor is to provide a list of assets plus a clear picture of your income and expenses, and where important documents can be found. If you pass away without supplying this kind of help, your executor will have to figure out all the details, and the more complex your estate is, the more details your executor will be required to work with.

Aware of limitations

In carrying out administrative duties, your executor will not want to make a mistake that could either hurt your estate in some way or cause legal problems personally. Therefore, he or she should know when to seek professional help from your accountant or attorney. The willingness to do so should be one more part of the criteria you use in selecting the perfect executor.

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