Michael Williams
4 min readSep 7, 2023

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End-of-Life Planning

How To Choose the Right Executor for Your Will

Illustration by Michael Williams (Midjourney)

Introduction

Choosing the right executor for your will is an important decision that requires careful thought and consideration. Remember: An executor has a legal responsibility to carry out the terms of your will after you pass away. This involves arranging your funeral, locating your will, collecting your assets, paying off debts and taxes, and distributing your property to your named beneficiaries. Picking the wrong executor can lead to mistakes, delays, and frustration for your loved ones during an already difficult time.

So, how can you choose the best executor for your will? Follow the tips below and you’re likely to find the right person for the job.

Look for Someone Trustworthy and Responsible

An executor should be someone with strong ethics who you trust to carry out your final wishes without bias or regard for their own interests. Look for someone who is responsible, organized and detail-oriented to inventory assets, track paperwork, and handle financial transactions. Avoid naming someone with known financial struggles or irresponsibility with money.

Consider Family Members, But Be Objective

When selecting a spouse or adult child to be your executor, it's important to evaluate their abilities honestly. Consider whether they have the time and temperament to take on such a demanding role, as well as any other family or work responsibilities they may have. It's wise to name alternative executors in case of unforeseen circumstances, such as illness or death. To avoid conflicts, be sure to communicate your decision to all members of the family.

Choose Someone Comfortable with Conflict

Executors sometimes have to make judgment calls, deal with disputes, and even start legal proceedings to protect estate assets. Someone who avoids conflict may struggle to take on these duties. A professional executor like an estate attorney or trust company may be a good option if there are family disagreements. A good executor is an effective communicator.

Look for Local Proximity

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Michael Williams

I’m a storyteller, StoryCoach, writer, accredited End-of-Life Planning Facilitator, spiritual mentor & podcast host. Oh yeah, I play ukulele.