When looking for an executor for your estate, you will likely gravitate toward someone you know well. For most people, a family member will serve as their first pick.
But is a family member your best option? Surprisingly, the answer is not always yes.
Trusting your relative personally
As CNBC discusses, your executor plays a crucial part in your estate plan. They essentially keep the whole show running after your death, ensuring that everything happens in accordance with your will.
Naturally, you do want someone who knows what you wish for and holds similar world views and beliefs. You want someone who can represent you well after your death, and who would make decisions on your behalf that you yourself would make if you could.
For this portion of things, a relative will almost always serve as a good choice. They have known you for a long time, and you have likely spent plenty of time talking to them over the years and getting to know them just as well. But being on the same page with your executor is not the only important thing.
Trusting your relative professionally
Also important: your executor’s ability to manage an estate. This is no simple task. They need strong leadership skills, organizational skills, timeliness, and the ability to manage and move large assets. They must have the ability to communicate with grief-stricken people in a kind and professional way, even while dealing with their own grief. They also need some experience with coordinating communication between attorneys, financial advisors and other staff you may have hired to ensure everyone is on the same page.
And in that regard, a family member might not be up to snuff after all. It is important to understand how much your loved one is capable of accomplishing and be realistic about those expectations.