You know the executor of your estate has an important job (or several of them) after you’re gone. You also know that it’s important to pick someone who is competent, trustworthy, organized and willing to do the job.
Fortunately, you have no shortage of people in your life that meet that description, but you still have concerns about naming any one of them your executor. What if your wife predeceases you? What if your daughter’s career causes her to move halfway around the world by then? What if your brother is too old to manage everything when the time comes?
If you feel uncomfortable without a back-up plan in case something causes your first executor to bow out, you’re not alone.
What are your options?
Sometimes people choose to name more than one executor in their estate plans, thinking that it creates an automatic backup in case one is unable to serve. However, that approach can actually create more problems than it solves, especially if the co-executors have disparate temperaments. (It can also make it harder to settle your estate, since co-executors both have to agree on everything and sign all documents.)
Instead, you should consider naming a contingency executor. A contingency executor should have all the same good qualities as your primary choice – including the willingness to step in should the primary not be able to fulfill their role for any reason.
You can also simply bypass the issue entirely by hiring a professional. In fact, it may be better to simply go that route in the first place if you have a particularly complex or large estate. A professional fiduciary has more access to resources than the average individual and the expertise you may need for substantial holdings.
Putting your estate plans in place can feel incredibly challenging, but it’s a lot easier to get things together when you see the whole picture – and some experienced guidance by your side.