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Choosing an executor? Why you should look beyond family ties

On Behalf of | Nov 13, 2023 | Estate Planning |

When choosing the person who will carry out your last wishes as outlined in your will, it is natural to incline towards a family member. We all love our families, but let’s face it – divvying up assets and navigating legal waters can be a breeding ground for tension. Therefore, it is prudent to make the right choice, even if it means looking beyond blood relations.

Your cousin or brother might be the life of the party, but do they have what it takes to manage your estate when the time comes? Remember, an executor needs more than good intentions; they require a solid understanding of the legal and financial matters involved in the role to ensure a smooth legal process.

Consider someone with the right skills

As mentioned, the complexities of executing a will demand more than mere enthusiasm. Some of the personal traits and characteristics to look out for include:

  • Impartiality – An ideal executor should be fair and unbiased, capable of making decisions based on the merits of the situation rather than personal affiliations.
  • Attention to detail – A meticulous executor is essential for managing the intricate paperwork and legal documentation involved in the process. Precision and accuracy are key to avoiding potential legal complications.
  • Problem-solving skills – Estate settlement can present unexpected challenges. An executor with strong problem-solving skills can navigate unforeseen issues, ensuring the process moves smoothly and efficiently.
  • Empathy and trustworthiness – Dealing with grieving family members requires empathy. A compassionate executor can handle emotional situations with sensitivity, fostering a supportive environment for beneficiaries during a challenging time. It is equally important to look for an individual with a reputation for honesty and integrity.
  • Availability and patience – The executor’s role often involves a prolonged and time-consuming process. Choosing someone with the patience to handle complex matters and the availability to dedicate the necessary time is crucial.

While blood runs thicker than water, a pragmatic approach to selecting an executor ensures that everything goes as planned. Strive for a balance between family loyalty and the practicalities of the role. If you are unsure of your choice of executor, seeking legal guidance can help you make the right call and avoid unnecessary complications.