The executor of your estate will hold a lot of power and responsibility. Because of how closely they will work with your personal affairs, you may want to choose a family member first.
But is that always the best option? Or in some cases, may family members actually fall shy of what you really need?
Primary responsibilities of an executor
Executor.org discusses the primary roles and responsibilities that estate executors hold. First, they organize the actual funeral. This includes setting up arrangements for a viewing or a ceremony if you want one, as well as organizing the proper handling of your body in accordance with your wishes.
They need to manage your estate finances, too. This means using estate assets to pay for your funeral, along with maintaining any ongoing bills and canceling bills that your estate will not need after your death, such as magazine subscriptions or internet service.
They have to work with your other attorneys, financial representatives and anyone else in order to pay off any debts on your estate. They need to go through the probate process as well, and then divide the assets that remain so they can distribute these assets to your beneficiaries.
A years-long process
In total, the process often takes multiple years. It is a big investment of time and effort. A good executor should have the ability to shoulder this responsibility and do it well, along with having important skills like organization, timeliness, and self-direction.
If a family member does not fit the bill, it might be better to rely on a different person instead.