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Home » Estate Planning » 6 qualities you want in an executor

Not just anyone can fulfill the complex and time-consuming duties of an executor. This is why you need to take great care when selecting someone for this role. You want the right person with the right qualities.

That person does not have to be a relative, either. But you want to be certain that your estate is in the hands of a trusted, calm and organized person. Give great thought to this decision.

Trustworthy and skilled in finance

So, what are the qualities that you want in an executor? Here are key ones:

  • Trustworthy: The executor should be a good decision-maker who follows your instructions within the will. You want to be confident knowing that your executor maintains the best interests of your estate, avoiding poor decisions that may lead to complications.
  • Confident: This person must possess a great amount of self-assurance, knowing that he or she can fulfill the executor duties and be up for the challenge.
  • Calm and poised: A great amount of composure often is needed when trying to complete a number of duties such as tracking down the assets, dealing with state and federal government agencies and creditors, and resolving disputes among heirs.
  • Organized: With many duties come many telephone calls, emails and letters. Priorities are in order. You want someone who has a plan in place to manage the disparate duties of the executor.
  • Available: Settling an estate may take more than a year, so make sure this person had the time to perform the executor’s duties, sometimes, juggling several at once.
  • Skilled in finance: Having an executor who has experience dealing with investments such as real estate, stocks, bonds, IRAs and 401(k)s is important. It is a bonus if your chosen executor fulfilled this role for another estate a previous time.

Compile a list of potential candidates and whittle it down to a small number of people who you think would best fulfill the important duties of the executor.

Peace of mind gained

You will gain a certain peace of mind in making your decision for the executor. You want to feel confident. But make sure to talk with the prospective candidate to ensure that he or she is comfortable in this role.