Q&A: Choosing the right executor

October 3, 2008

I've started writing my will, but I'm not sure whom to choose as the executor. What factors should I consider?

Q: I've started writing my will, but I'm not sure whom to choose as the executor. What factors should I consider?

A: Selecting an executor is not a decision to be taken lightly. The executor is in charge of accounting for all your assets, paying off all your debts, and distributing your assets to the heirs you've selected. One pitfall to avoid is selecting a beneficiary, such as a spouse or a child, as an executor. Doing so can create a conflict of interest because that person may have to decide between distributing assets between himself and another beneficiary. Because of the complexity involved in tabulating assets and working with creditors, it's better to choose a business-savvy friend-but not a business partner, because of a potential conflict of interest involved in the decision to sell the business. If this doesn't sound like anyone you know, don't despair. Attorneys or accountants can be good options. Keep in mind that they'll seek a cut of your assets in return for their work.