You’re doing the responsible thing and getting your estate plans in order. But you still need to pick someone as the executor who will oversee your final affairs.
Should you name your spouse? A sibling? Your oldest child? The answer to all three is, “Probably not.”
Here are some things to consider before you designate an executor over your estate.
You and your spouse could die in a common accident
If you name your spouse your executor (and many people do), you could be setting your remaining heirs up for a major problem. It’s not unheard of for couples to die together in a common accident — whether a plane goes down or you’re in the same car wreck.
Plus, there’s always the possibility that your spouse simply won’t be up to the task following your death even if they do survive you. Being an executor is a big job, and they may not be able to emotionally handle the burden on top of their loss.
Your sibling may not outlive you either
Unless you have a sibling that’s younger by at least a decade, naming one as your executor is a bad idea. There’s no guarantee that your sibling will outlive you.
Plus, if you’re both in your “golden years,” your sibling may not have the physical, emotional or mental resources it can take to handle the executor’s duties.
Your oldest child could spark a family feud
How well do you understand the dynamics between your adult children? Even the closest siblings can have a falling out or grow apart over time. Putting one child in charge of your estate may make your other children feel slighted, and that can lead to unnecessary conflicts with your estate.
Or, your oldest child may relish the idea of being in control of your estate a bit too much — and purposefully shift their weight around when dealing with their siblings. That, too, can lead to family disputes.
You may have a lot of options — but no real idea which one is best for your estate plans. An experienced attorney can offer a nuanced, dispassionate perspective on the situation that can make your choice much easier.