Estate Planning Isn’t Just For The Elderly

Happy, smiling couple in their sixties.

When you start working on your estate plan, one of the first things you must decide is who you want serving as the executor of your estate. This is a pivotal role and the person you select must fit certain criteria.

Naturally, you may lean toward a trusted relative for this duty. But is that actually the best option?

Personal trust in your executor

CNBC discusses choosing the right executor for your estate. In order to have a good executor, they must fit several important criteria first.

Of course, the amount of trust you have in them on a personal level is of great importance. Can you trust them to follow your wishes? Do you have similar points of view and beliefs, so you can leave any decisions in their hands and know that they will do what you would have done? You likely want someone honest, who you know well and who knows you well in return.

Trust in their capabilities

But that is not the only important thing. An executor holds the most responsibility of anyone else in your estate plan. Not only will they have to cope with their own grief, but they must also take care of the estate taxes, pass out the assets in accordance with your will, communicate with your other bereaved loved ones in a professional manner, and manage all of the legal paperwork and meetings that happen in conjecture with an estate.

In short, you must also trust that your choice is responsible, punctual, respectful and has some working knowledge of the law, or can figure it out if they do not. Your executor should fit into both of these categories, and that might not always be a family member.