As you grow older or reach certain milestones in your life, you may begin thinking about what the future may hold for you. Going even further, you may think about what the future could bring for your family. Because you undoubtedly want to ensure that they are taken care of in the event of your passing, you may feel that the time has come to create an estate plan.

Choosing to start estate planning is a step of which you should feel proud. This task can seem daunting, and many people choose to put it off as long as possible. However, getting started early could save both you and your family from unnecessary complications. Of course, you may wonder what parts of the process you should tackle first, and for many people, choosing an executor may land at the top of the list.

What is an executor?

In order to choose an effective executor, you may want to understand the roles this person plays in the administration of your estate. The executor handles the necessary actions that allow for the estate to close properly, which involves contacting beneficiaries, addressing estate debts, distributing assets and many other duties. Because so many responsibilities come along with this role, it can leave many individuals feeling overwhelmed.

Can anyone be an executor?

In general, you could name any person to act as the executor of your estate. However, you may wish to ensure that the person is willing and ready for the position. For your benefit and the benefit of your estate, it could prove useful to choose someone who is honest, responsible, trustworthy and has good organizational skills. Additionally, you may want to consider someone who does not buckle easily under pressure as this individual will have to contend with any disputes that arise with your estate.

When you consider your candidates, rather than simply choosing a person and putting his or her name in your will, you may want to discuss your intentions with your desired individual. In some cases, though you may feel one person is perfect for the position, he or she may not feel ready or able to tackle such a time-consuming and stressful endeavor.

How can you formally name an executor?

Once you have chosen a person, or even a bank or other entity, to represent your estate, you will need to include that information in your will. This formal documentation will typically allow the executor to begin probate proceedings without having to go through the steps of petitioning the court for control. If you have more questions regarding the best way to choose and name an executor, you may wish to utilize local New York legal resources.