When choosing an executor for your estate, you may lean toward a family member above all else. After all, who knows you better than your family?
Unfortunately, a familiarity with you is not the only skill that an executor needs, though. In fact, your executor needs a set of skills.
The managerial duties of executors
Forbes discusses common and popular choices for estate executors. Of course, family members often rank quite high for the aforementioned reasons.
However, family members do not always have the other skills necessary for an executor to do their job well.
Executors are essentially managerial positions that oversee many aspects of an estate plan. They need strong people and communication skills, time management and self-management skills, a sense of responsibility, and more.
They will communicate with most other members of the plan, such as beneficiaries, attorneys and financial advisors.
They also handle most of your financial matters. This includes paying off any debts that you owe with estate assets, filing your final tax documents, and ensuring that necessary, ongoing bills continue getting paid on time while canceling any superfluous ones.
They also need time. An estate plan may have to go through the probate process, and the executor will need to stick with it for the entire time. Probate can sometimes last for years, so you should be sure that your potential executor understands the time commitment before they agree. This will save both of you a lot of time and trouble in the long run.