When you create a will, you’ll name an executor or personal representative. That person will be the “quarterback” of your estate after your death. Your executor will have to identify your assets, see that title is transferred to the heirs you’ve specified, make reports to the local probate court, and take responsibility for filing the required tax returns.
Therefore, you want to name someone who is diligent and efficient. Possibilities include:
* Your spouse. Having to fill the responsibilities of an executor may help the survivor cope with the realities that must be faced. Or it may be a burden at a time of high stress. The two of you should discuss it.
* Another relative. An adult son or daughter might be a good choice, especially one who lives nearby. Otherwise, you might name a niece, nephew, cousin, etc.
* A professional advisor. Your attorney, accountant, or financial planner might be willing to serve. Find out what the fee schedule will be and include that arrangement in a letter your survivors will read after your death.
No matter whom you name as executor, be sure to get his or her consent in advance.