Choosing an executor for your estate can be hard. There are lots of tips out there on how to pick someone with the right characteristics for the job — and they’re good to know. However, you may have to start with one basic question: Do you want a relative, a friend or a stranger to be in charge of your estate?
There’s no one right answer for everyone. Here’s what you should consider as you make the decision:
A relative may have biases or conflicts that could be problematic
If you pick your oldest child to be your executor, for example, your other children may respond with resentment and jealousy. That could make it tough for your executor to manage things fairly. Family disputes have a way of escalating when estates are involved.
A friend may bow to family pressures
Selecting a friend of the family as the executor may safely skirt any conflicts between your relatives, but it may not solve your problems. A family friend may not be ready to handle the constant pressure from unhappy or difficult heirs, and that could make them disinclined to follow your wishes.
A professional costs money
If a friend or relative can’t handle the executor’s job, a professional may be the best choice. There are law firms and companies that specialize in this job. However, that costs your estate — and your heirs — some money.
You know your family and your situation better than anybody, but it may take some experienced guidance to make the best choice among potential executors. Your estate plan is important, so do what it takes to get everything right. An experienced estate planning attorney can help.