Medical emergencies and the end of life aren’t things people like to think about, and their definitely not things many of us like to talk about with loved ones, but we’re here to tell you that those can be some of the most important conversations you’ll ever have.
No matter how old you are, it’s never too early to think about what you would like to happen if something were to happen to you. That can mean writing a will, properly planning your account beneficiaries and choosing an executor of your estate.
In this article, we’d like to focus on that last action item and give you a list of characteristics to look for when deciding on an estate plan executor. While it’s important to work with your attorney to put all of your wishes and choice of executor into legal documentation, there’s plenty you should think about before taking that next step.
Someone Able to Carry Out Needed Tasks
The majority of those tasks are related to overseeing that your assets are distributed how and to whom you would like after you are gone. That means you’ll want to choose someone who you would trust to handle your money today, because they’ll be serving as your proxy and by choosing a trustworthy person to serve as executor means you can be more confident your final wishes are being followed.
Picking a person who is able to carry out the necessary actions laid out in your will and other estate documents means you should assume this person will outlive you. For that reason, we don’t recommend making your executor a parent or older sibling, but perhaps a child, niece, nephew or close family friend.
Someone Who Knows You Well
While the people you know well are likely the same people you have great trust in, those two things are not mutually inclusive. We would recommend that your executor have an intimate knowledge of your life, your goals and your relationships.
By having a deeper sense who you are, they may be able to interpret your will better than someone who didn’t know you well. It’s also helpful for the executor to be a close friend or family member as they are more likely to understand any debts you may need to repay upon death and may be someone you’re more comfortable talking to about your current and future financial situation.
Someone Willing to Serve
Just because you have a certain person or persons in mind to serve as your executor, doesn’t mean they’ll agree to serve as one for you. This role holds great responsibility and can be a lot of work, depending on the size of your estate. Be sure you have an in depth discussion with the person you would like to be your executor about the responsibilities they’ll take on if they accept.
As always, if you feel like you need a helping hand to facilitate this or any other difficult conversation as it relates to estate planning or your financial life, reach out to your financial advisor.
This article was originally published on Oct, 6, 2018 in the Pioneer Press.
Bruce Helmer, a founding member of Wealth Enhancement Group, has been the host of the “Your Money” Radio Show for more than 20 years. He is also featured weekly on the Twin Cities CBS affiliate WCCO, and has penned three financial advice publications.