What kind of qualifications should a good executor have?

If you own a business, you probably appreciate employees who turn out to be great administrators. This is a skill you would ideally like to have in your personal representative.

If you are about to prepare your will, here are three tips to help you make the right decision when choosing a personal representative, also known as an executor.

Consider longevity

It is astonishing how many people choose an older relative or friend to be the executor of their estate. These appointees may be well qualified for the task, but they may also be the first to pass away. Choose someone your own age or younger who is in good health and who is likely going to be around after you are gone.

Think about the paperwork

Your executor will have to deal with a considerable amount of paperwork. You should, therefore, choose someone who will not feel overwhelmed with having to send off copies of the death certificate; examine invoices, bank accounts and retirement accounts; pay bills; and prepare final tax returns. In short, he or she will sort out your final affairs before distributing the remaining assets to heirs.

Select a team player

Having a good head for business is great, but having common sense is just as important. Your executor should know when it is time to reach out for help to professionals, such as an attorney, an accountant and a business appraiser.

The person you select as your personal representative should understand that he or she is legally responsible for protecting your estate, paying your debts and distributing assets according to your wishes and instructions. It is important for you to know that, when necessary, this person will ask for advice from professionals to ensure there are no missteps.

How you can help your executor

Once you have chosen your personal representative, tell him or her where you are keeping important papers. Knowing where to find everything from your checkbook to your estate planning documents will be immensely helpful when the executor is eventually called into action.

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