What are the Qualities of a Good Executor?
Serving as executor of an estate can be a demanding and complicated job, and not everyone is suited to the task. Here are some qualities to look for when you’re deciding who to appoint:
- Organized. Your executor will have a multitude of papers to keep track of, a bank account to balance, and potentially investments or other property to manage. In addition, he or she will have to file inventories of your assets with the probate court, and will potentially have to deal with professionals such as appraisers, financial advisors, and tax professionals. Keeping track of all the logistics involved in settling your estate will require a high level of organization.
- Loyal. Your executor’s job is to carry out your wishes for the distribution of your property. This means that he or she will have to follow the terms of your Will, in spite of what your loved ones might want, or in spite of your executor’s own preferences and interests. Your executor will have a good deal of power and control over your property during the probate process, so you’ll want to appoint someone who will manage your property responsibly.
- Strong-Willed. Your executor will have to decide which of your creditors’ claims are valid and which are not. This might mean going to court to defend your estate against invalid claims. Similarly, he or she may need to deal with conflict among family members, as well as potential lawsuits challenging your Will.
- Fair and Practical. Part of your executor’s job is to balance the interests of all your beneficiaries. This means that he or she will have to be fair and to make practical decisions concerning the handling of your estate.
You’ll want to select an executor who can best serve the interests of your beneficiaries and who can carry out his or her duties effectively. Before signing your Will, make sure that you have a talk with your potential executor to make sure that he or she is willing to serve in this honored but challenging role.