The percentage of people who focus on doing a proper will is extremely small, which means that the percentage of people who put a lot of thought into who their estate's executor will be is even smaller. When you have passed on, your executor becomes extremely important to your family and to your final wishes. Instead of glossing over the decision on who your executor will be, you should give the idea some serious thought.
Your executor makes the decisions regarding your assets and determines how to handle your debt after you have passed on. You may have left your stamp collection to your nephew, but your executor may decide that the stamp collection is too valuable and needs to be sold to pay off your debts.
Since your executor makes all of the important decisions regarding your estate, you want to choose someone you trust. You also want to choose someone you know will be able to handle the pressure of being your executor, have the family's best interests in mind, and be able to make good decisions.
Each state has its own rules when it comes to executors, but there are a few basic guidelines you can follow to make a good decision. First and foremost, do not try to choose a convicted felon as your executor. Even if that felon is your closest relative, your will could be contested based on your executor's felony status and the courts may not even recognize your executor at all.
In most states, relatives can be executors no matter what state they live in. You can even have a relative who lives in an American territory or foreign country, and most states will allow that relative to be your executor. Once again, each state is different when it comes to direct family relationships. Some states recognized step-parents or step-children as direct relatives, while others do not. Be sure to discuss your possible executor decision with your attorney to determine if your relative qualifies to be your executor.
Unless there is a glaring problem such as a felony conviction or some other issue with your executor, the courts will do their best to acknowledge your wishes and allow your executor to make decisions. But it is always a good idea to choose an executor who knows you well, and is able to speak freely with your family.
Your will could be contested if your family feels that your executor is making decisions that are against your final wishes. Questioning the power of the executor is just one reason families contest wills, and it can change your entire final wishes if your executor gets removed by the courts. Take your time and find an executor who can keep the peace after you pass away, and make sure that your final wishes are administered properly.
No matter what size your estate may be, everyone has ideas on how they want their final wishes to be carried out. The job of making sure your final wishes are done your way falls to the executor you choose for your estate. Take your time and make the right choice because the person you choose as your executor will be the person who represents you after you have passed on.