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How to choose an executor? And other estate planning FAQs

Whether you go the will or trust route, part of estate planning involves choosing a person to execute your final wishes. The law refers to this person as the estate executor.

Though an estate executor does not need specific legal knowledge, he or she should be trustworthy, among other good qualities. FindLaw details the qualities to look for in a possible executor, as well as addresses other estate planning FAQs.

What qualities should you look for in an executor?

Per FindLaw, there are five qualities to look for when choosing an executor. Those are as follows:

  • Honesty
  • Attention to detail
  • Organization
  • Good communication skills
  • Timeliness

Carefully consider your decision, and make sure that potential candidates possess these traits in spades.

Are there restrictions regarding whom you can name an executor?

Though state laws vary, most maintain that you cannot name persons under 18 or felons as executors. In some states, your executor must be a primary beneficiary.

Should you name an alternate executor?

It is a good idea to name a backup executor when you write your will for a few reasons. For instance, your first choice may pass away before you do, or he or she may decline the responsibility. He or she may also move away, or you may have a falling out. For these reasons and then some, it may be in your and your estate’s best interests to have an alternative executor.

You should give careful consideration to the executor you hire, as well as fully understand what the job entails. If necessary, seek professional help before appointing an executor.

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Don’t forget to update your estate plan.