Arguably one of the toughest tasks when planning your estate is picking the person who has legal responsibility over your financial assets. The executor plays a crucial role in making sure that your property is passed down to the people you want to inherit it.
While you may already have someone in mind for the role, you still have plenty of time to decide or change your mind on the matter. You need to have several reasons on why the person you picked was the right decision. Ask the following questions as you start writing down your candidates:
How close are they to you?
The first instinct most estate planners have is to choose a family member. They've been with you for most of your life, have a better understanding of you as a person and in most cases are people you can trust your property with. So what can go wrong?
The American Bar Association cites family conflicts as one of the main reasons many estate distributions turn into disputes. If a family member is unsatisfied with their inheritance, they can accuse you or the executor of personal bias. You can't address the concerns after your death, so you could be placing more of a burden on the executor than there already is.
You also need to take age into consideration. If you choose a spouse or sibling around your age, your plans may have to change if they come down with something or die before you do.
How experienced are they?
It's rare to find someone who has experience as an executor, so your next best bet is to find someone who has sufficient financial expertise. It could be someone who is an accountant, attorney or someone who is just great at keeping their financial life balanced. You need someone who you know is less likely to make a grave error when you give them control of your financial obligations.
It may be beneficial to hire a local professional. They would have a better time incorporating New Jersey taxes in your estate to ensure that you lose as little of your property as possible.
How many do you need?
Taking on the role of executor is a massive responsibility that can place a lot of pressure on the individual. New Jersey does allow estate planners the option of recruiting a second executor to help take care of your property. That way you may have a great balance between hiring someone close to you and someone professional and an easier time for both individuals to handle the estate. On the other hand, you do not want to choose two candidates who will constantly bicker with each other over how certain decisions are made.
It can be difficult to weigh so many pros and cons in the process of selecting your executor. Consider speaking with someone who has experience in estate planning to see how well your potential candidates stack up.