Most of us are well aware of the fact that we need to have a will, but once you spell out your wishes in writing the matter is not closed. Someone is going to have to do the formidable legwork that it takes to carry out those wishes once you pass on, and this individual is referred to as the executor of the estate. So when you are working on your will, in addition to the decisions that you have to make regarding the distribution of your assets, you are also going to have to decide who you want to put in charge of distributing them.
Most people select a family member to be the executor of their estate, but before doing so it is important to recognize all of the details that the executor is going to have to address. The executor will have to notify your creditors and make sure that all of your debts are paid. This will include taxes, including income and estate taxes, and this facet of estate administration may require the assistance of an accountant or tax attorney. The executor is also charged with the responsibility of taking inventory all of your assets and then distributing them according to your wishes as stated in your will.
When you consider all that is involved, your executor shouldn’t necessarily be the person that you are closest with. It should be someone with considerable business savvy and the free time necessary to properly administer your estate. In most cases the executor is going to have to communicate with a number of different people to discuss potentially sensitive issues, so he or she needs to be a capable and diplomatic communicator. If you have a friend or family member that fits this description, great; if not, you can assign a professional to be the executor of your estate. There will be a fee involved, but it may be well worth it depending on the complexity of your affairs.