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  • Writer's pictureCook Tillman

Who should be an executor?

Now that you have begun creating an estate plan, careful thought and attention must be given to appointing an executor.  Although your desires are in writing, it is the executor’s job is it to ensure that your instructions are followed. You want to appoint someone who has the right qualities to successfully complete this important task as drama-free as possible.


An executor has a number of tasks. That list includes paying outstanding taxes and bills, tracking down beneficiaries, providing death notifications to organizations such as the Social Security Administration, settling disputes and distributing assets among those beneficiaries, and hiring an attorney if necessary.

With these duties in mind, you see just how important the executor role is. That is why you want an executor who has the following traits:

  1. Reliable and trustworthy: The fate of your estate is in the hands of the executor. You want someone you can trust to follow your wishes and represent the estate.

  2. Organized: With many tasks to complete, the executor must have solid organizational skills and know how to prioritize them.

  3. Confidence: This person should have no doubt that he or she can successfully complete these duties.

  4. Financially savvy: Having more than basic knowledge of investments, budgeting and dealing with creditors is important.

  5. Availability: The executor role is time-consuming and may last more than a year.

  6. Calm and level-headed: An executor may have to settle disputes among feuding heirs.

Complications may arise in the probate process. However, with the right person in the executor role, potential troubles may never materialize.


When choosing an executor, consider the person who has the most desirable traits to get the job done. Once you have a list of candidates, make sure to discuss with them whether they would be comfortable in this role. It is a lot of responsibility, and you want to make sure the right person is in place.


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